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In some companies, everyone works in the same building, arrives and leaves around the same time each day, and meetings are held with all members in one room.

If your company has multiple offices or works with remote workers, most likely you do things a bit differently. 

Hours are flexible, work locations are far and wide, and meetings need to be virtual. In fact, a single meeting might consist of employees from three or four countries – all with different time zones and schedules.


How the heck do you coordinate something like that? 
Remote and global employees know they need to be flexible, but still, managers struggle to get team members on the same schedule.

Read on to learn how to effectively organize meetings across a distributed global team.

Check When (and if) Your Teams' Work Schedules Overlap

Scheduling with remote workers: Part of working remotely is the freedom to set your own schedule. As a manager, you might be hesitant to demand certain working hours, as to not intrude on that freedom.

Ask employees to send four hours they work the same each day. This respects their freedom and allows you to see when their ideal times for collaboration are. Compare hours and time zones to see if you can find one hour of common availability each week.   

Scheduling with multiple offices: What if your offices are in different time zones? What if one team member lives in Sydney, another in Dublin, and one in New York City? Finding a common time to meet seems impossible.

What do you do? Our suggestion is to rotate the meeting time so everyone has equal opportunity for the most and least convenient times to meet. Using Dublin, Sydney, and New York City as an example again, let’s take a look at the times that could potentially work.  Suggested times are in yellow. 

Global Meeting Time Cheat Sheet

DUBLIN, IRELAND

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

NEW YORK CITY, USA

12:00 AM

10:00 AM

7:00 PM

1:00 AM

11:00 AM

8:00 PM

2:00 AM

12:00 PM

9:00 PM

3:00 AM

1:00 PM

10:00 PM

4:00 AM

2:00 PM

11:00 PM

5:00 AM

3:00 PM

12:00 AM

6:00 AM

4:00 PM

1:00 AM

7:00 AM

5:00 PM

2:00 AM

8:00 AM

6:00 PM

3:00 AM

9:00 AM

7:00 PM

4:00 AM

10:00 AM

8:00 PM

5:00 AM

11:00 AM

9:00 PM

6:00 AM

12:00 PM

10:00 PM

7:00 AM

1:00 PM

11:00 PM

8:00 AM

2:00 PM

12:00 AM

9:00 AM

3:00 PM

1:00 AM

10:00 AM

4:00 PM

2:00 AM

11:00 AM

5:00 PM

3:00 AM

12:00 PM

6:00 PM

4:00 AM

1:00 PM

7:00 PM

5:00 AM

2:00 PM

8:00 PM

6:00 AM

3:00 PM

9:00 PM

7:00 AM

4:00 PM

10:00 PM

8:00 AM

5:00 PM

11:00 PM

9:00 AM

6:00 PM 

(Are you coordinating across different timezones? Use the free Time Zone Converter to see what might work.)

As you can see, it’s going to require some flexibility, as every option consists of two locations meeting at a less-than-opportune time. A suggestion? Rotate the meeting time each week to make things more fair. That way the team member in Dublin doesn’t have a late meeting every week, and the team member in New York City doesn’t have an early meeting every week.  

You still might not be able to get everyone together at the same time. So what do you do? Here are a few tips. 

1. Record the meeting. If you have a widley distributed 15-person team and everyone can attend except three people because the meeting is at 2AM for them, take it as a victory and record the meeting to send to those who couldn’t attend.

2. Ask for questions in advance. Make sure that those who can’t attend the meeting have the opportunity to ask questions ahead of time. When you send out your meeting agenda, ask for those people to send their questions in advance, and read them at the top of the meeting.

3. Take the follow up conversation to Slack. Messaging apps, such as Slack, allow team members to chat and have discussions easily. Take the post-meeting discussion to Slack afterward, so employees who are unable to attend (or need to immediately go to bed) can look back later and catch up.  

Looking for more tips to managing distributed teams and remote employees? Download our leadership guide, “How to Manage Remote Employees: A leadership guide to supporting your distributed team.”

Download the leadership guide: How to Manage Remote Employees