The Time-Zone Dilemma When Working Abroad

One of the challenges that you may face when you move to another country to work is the difference in the time zones.

Even though the internet allows you to work as if you lived just down the road from your clients, you can’t cheat time. If there is an eight-hour difference between you and your clients, this is bound to affect how you work.

Island time zone © by shawnzrossi

Plan Before You Leave

The time difference is unlikely to be a problem until you get to about three or four hours of difference, so if you live in the UK and go to another country in Europe to work, it probably won’t cause you too many problems.

However, if you travel to the the west coast of the USA then you could find that there is an eight-hour time difference to contend with, and this will be a greater challenge.

Essentially, you have to consider the type of work that you are doing and the amount of contact that you will need with your clients before you even decide upon a destination.

If you are just sending the odd email which does not require an instant response then you may find that working on the other side of the world is a possibility. But if you need to arrange regular telephone conversations with your clients then somewhere with a smaller time difference may be essential.

Adjust Your Working Hours

No matter how large or small the time difference, you are probably going to have to adjust the way that you work to some extent.

For example, if you are four hours behind your clients then you may want to start working a few hours earlier than you would back home so that your day is more in line with theirs.

If you are even further behind, you may want to plan your day to get all of your important tasks done first and all of your calls and emails made in the first few hours of the day before your clients finish for the day and head back home.

This may mean no more late mornings, but that is the price you have to pay!

Make Sure Clients Know About Your Hours

If you know that your working hours are going to be disruptive to a certain degree, it becomes even more important that you let your clients know about your location.

Although it is technically possible to keep your location a secret, if you fail to tell your clients about the time difference they may be less forgiving when you take many hours to reply to an important message because you did not receive it as a result of your working hours.

Internet on the Go

One thing you may find very useful is having a smartphone or tablet with you so that you can reply to messages whenever you receive them, rather than having to be at your desk working.

That way you can check your emails last thing at night and first thing in the morning to see if anything important has come up. Also, if you go away for the day (and when you live in a new country this is something you may want to do quite a lot!) you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything important.

Don’t Let Time Get You Down

The time difference can be an issue when you work from abroad, but with a bit of careful planning there is no need to let it get in the way of your travel plans. Just make sure that you take account of the possible disruption it may cause right from the moment you start to plan your trip abroad, and there is no reason why it should become a problem.

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