Today’s workforce includes a mix of remote, hybrid and on-site employees. Regardless of your location, you’re likely collaborating with peers in different locations. With teams being more dispersed than ever, time zones can present a major hurdle for workplace collaboration.

According to Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work Report, 21% of respondents identified working across different time zones as their biggest struggle stemming from remote work, while 17% chose difficulties with collaboration and communication.

If you’re on a team scattered throughout the country or globe, consider these best practices for collaborating across different time zones:

Share Schedules

The first step in working across time zones is understanding where everyone else is. Teammates should share their current time zones and working hours if they are comfortable doing so. This exercise can increase team transparency and accountability.

Set and Respect Boundaries

Once colleagues’ work hours and boundaries are established, it’s important to respect them. For example, be sure to schedule meetings with everyone’s active work hours rather than making some teammates call in early or late in the day.

Be Mindful of Co-Workers’ Time Zones

Have reasonable expectations regarding response times when scheduling meetings or sending messages. If you know a co-worker is offline, acknowledge this in your message and factor it into deadlines and urgent requests.

Be Specific With Dates and Times

To reduce confusion, consider how to best incorporate exact dates and time zones within deadlines, calls, meetings and other key components of your workday. Some tools may even have built-in features that automatically account for time zones, so make sure to check for those capabilities.

Use the Right Communication Channel(s)

Effective communication between teammates is critical to following through on collaboration expectations. While the correct use of meetings fosters team-building and collaboration opportunities, some workplaces may promote communication over email and other channels instead of excessive, unnecessary meetings.

Leverage Project Management Tools

If project management software or other workflow tools are available, they may help streamline your communication and work processes. Such technology can help everyone be on the same page about work projects, regardless of when they’re logging on.

Working effectively with dispersed colleagues involves being mindful and respectful of time zones and schedules. You may struggle with collaborating and communicating across time zones, but through careful planning, you can get your work done and successfully connect with teammates.