Being a part of a project in another state can be both thrilling and rewarding. Benefits include things such as taking a business trip to a place you may not have been before to learning different cultures or traditions from other parts of the country. However, depending on your project requirements, you may be asked to work in a different time zone than the one you live in, which can come with some challenges. After being on a project in another state and time zone, I have compiled some tips for navigating working a different time zone.
A few easy steps someone working in a different time zone can take is to make email, calendar, and clock adjustments. If an individual has multiple email accounts and calendars, consider utilizing a single email account and calendar for all work if possible. Always check the account not in use once a day or a few times a week to ensure all email communications are received. If an individual must use more than one email account for multiple projects, align the calendars by copying or forwarding all events to both calendars to prevent missing a meeting for either project. Another tip to help manage your calendar and meetings is to determine whether to set or add the project’s time zone to your calendar and computer clock. One can set their email account and computer clock to their project’s time zone, or one can add a second time zone to their calendar such as in Microsoft Outlook.
My final tip for navigating working a different time zone is for individuals who are also working different hours (for example, 10:00 – 7:00 vs. 8:00 – 5:00). One should determine if they will maintain or adjust their current sleep schedule. Some individuals may find maintaining their normal sleep schedule helps their work performance since it is their routine, and some individuals may find adjusting their sleep schedule by the number of hours difference may help with their focus and prevent getting tired. I suggest first trying to maintain your current sleep schedule to potentially eliminate an additional major change and to try changing your sleep schedule if you are struggling with focus and fatigue.