Companies experience lots of benefits by hiring freelancers instead of full-time employees, such as time and cost savings. As the global talent pool is rich with people with diverse expertise, it is only natural that companies start hiring international freelancers. Thanks to the internet and online freelancing platforms like WinATalent, this has become possible. However, there are some issues, one of them being the time zone difference between the companies and freelancers. This matter complicates the relationship between the two. Considering how the hours they are available vary, this may lead to confusion and delayed communication.
There are ways to avoid these conflicts of course, and here is how:
Refer to only one time zone
If all the managers in the company set meeting times on their own personal time zone, everyone else will struggle to convert the time and match it with their own. This will be quite problematic in the long run. It is better for companies to set one official time zone and refer to it when making statements about time, as they might work with several freelancers from across the globe. If not, to manage time zone differences, it is best to agree on one specific time zone with every freelancer and stick to it through the process of working.
There should be no room for doubt and misinterpretation when discussing time. Using vague statements such as “I will contact you tomorrow morning” or “I will send you my work by the end of the day” should be avoided. Instead “I will be available from 2 PM in your time” is more clear and understandable. Giving the exact time from the previously agreed location and being as precise as possible is necessary for these situations.
Meet each other halfway
Meetings and video calls are not usually needed while working with a freelancer, but if they are, setting a proper meeting time can be tricky. No one wants to hold a meeting at 11 PM or wake up at 5 AM to have a video call, so there is no choice other than meeting each other halfway and compromising. Take a company located in Washington, imagine that they hire a freelancer who lives in Taiwan. That is when Taiwan is 13 hours ahead of Washington and companies do not start working until after 8 AM. The best option is to have the video call at 8 AM in Washington’s time and the freelancer has to stay online until 10 PM in Taiwan. It is a rough schedule, but it is the best possible solution.
Know each other’s schedule
It is not possible for a freelancer to stay online and available all the time. Companies are the same, working from 9 AM to 5 PM makes them available for only 8 hours during the day. Being unable to get through to your client or company while having an ongoing project at hand can be extremely stressful. As freelancers need to communicate with their clients regularly, both freelancers and companies need to know each other’s schedules perfectly. The best ways to avoid time zone conflicts are:
1) Both parties need to let each other know about the hours they are available.
2) Both parties need to provide each other with alternative ways to contact each other outside their working hours.
3) Both parties need to have an auto-response message to let the other know when they will be available again.
Convert the time and make a time zone spreadsheet
There is no need to calculate and convert time zones yourself, which takes a lot of time and energy. There are various tools that do that; World Time Buddy, Every Time Zone, and The Time Zone Converter are some of them. They help keep track of different time zones and manage them at the same time.
One of the most convenient ways to manage different time zones is by making a time zone spreadsheet. Some countries have more than one time zone, therefore, freelancers and companies must know each other’s exact location. Taking things a step further and checking the holidays in those locations every month will also help, as time zones are not the only country-specific factors. Being told by a freelancer or a client that they are not available on a certain day or not being told at all can lead to a lot of confusion.
Of all the factors for talent management, proper communication is the most important factor while working with international freelancers. By doing so, both companies and freelancers avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and will hopefully work with one another without unexpected complications.