Time Zone Overlap vs Opposite Time Zones for Remote Teams

August 24, 2022
Reх Huхford
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Remote teams are more productive when teammates have overlapping time zones vs opposite time zones. We go over the benefits of having aligned time zones and which countries have the most overlap with the US.
Time Zone Overlap vs Opposite Time Zones for Remote Teams

According to Forbes, the percentage of people working from home was expected to double in 2021, and the same trend is likely to continue into the future too. As remote work is becoming more mainstream, companies realize the slight discomforts that come with working from different geographical locations.

For one, collaboration and communication become a struggle if your teams are dispersed throughout different time zones. That's why working remotely in a different time zone can be inconvenient for both the workforce and the employees.

Meanwhile, time zone overlap is the silver lining that allows companies to hire a workforce from different geographical locations while maintaining seamless communication. Below, you'll learn about the hassle of working in opposite time zones and why time zone overlap should be a consideration when you're hiring workers for remote jobs.

What Is Time Zone Overlap?

Time zone overlap means that two or more time zones intersect each other. In the context of working remotely, this means that people in two different time zones can theoretically be working at the same time.

For instance, Uruguay is two hours ahead of U.S. time depending on where you live. This means that, based on an eight-hour workday, there's a six-hour time zone overlap between both countries.

Ideally, you'd want to have more time zone overlap so that your employees have sufficient time to work with each other and you can easily find windows of collaboration to hold meetings. It's important to note that 57% of work projects fail simply because of poor communication. Remote teams in opposite time zones can be detrimental to the success of companies that require a great deal of collaboration amongst teams.

Suppose you hire workers from China. Now, there's a 13-hour time difference between China and Washington, D.C. Since there's no time zone overlap, it will practically be impossible for you to have meetings with every worker on board unless your teams agree to wake up in the middle of the night for work.

When you hire workers based on time zone overlap, it's also important to consider the work culture in the respective country. Does the country have a nine-to-five workday? Do they start working earlier, at 8 am or 7 am? In that case, you might have a shorter time zone overlap.

Likewise, it's also helpful to know if that country follows daylight savings. All these factors help you determine how much of an overlap there is between both time zones.

What Are Opposite Time Zones?

The opposite time zone, in its simplest form, means that it's daytime in your workers' country when it's nighttime in the U.S. and vice versa. As mentioned above, China is a good example of an opposite time zone.

But why would U.S. companies hire workers from opposite time zones? Interestingly, it's to ensure a 24-hour workday. If your business model requires you to be active 24/7, you can work with remote times in opposite time zones since they'll be active when your U.S. teams are off work.

Alternatively, if your work does not require extensive collaboration, an opposite time zone won't affect your work processes much.

Besides inevitable collaboration issues, it's also important to keep in mind that countries with opposite time zones typically bear the additional burden of having work cultures that aren't always compatible with U.S. companies. These countries, such as India and China, also tend to have lower English proficiency, which can further make communication difficult.

Why Time Zone Overlap Is Better for Remote Teams

Unless 24-hour operability is a necessity for your organization, it's best to stick with hiring workers from countries with time zone overlaps. Here's why.

Real-Time Collaboration

When you're working on an important project, real-time collaboration becomes necessary. You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and can provide their input at any time.

But this type of collaboration can be difficult to achieve when your remote team is working in opposite time zones. Suppose you live in California, which follows Pacific Standard Time (PST). Now suppose further that your team is working in India, where workers follow Indian Standard Time (IST). This is 13 hours and 30 minutes ahead of California. Real-time communication will be virtually impossible, thus making it extensively difficult to work on projects that need immediate input and efficient collaboration.

Easy To Arrange Meetings

If your workforce is working remotely in a different time zone, one of the major problems you'll face is the difficulty in scheduling meetings. How do you make meetings feasible when you aren't available at the same time?

You may have to move other things around or request your employees to be available during off-hours or work hours. While your workforce may compromise if it's a one-time thing, you can't expect them to show up regularly in meetings that are set in times that are too inconvenient for them.

The best solution is to hire workers in overlapping time zones. This way, there will always be a few hours during the day when everyone can be readily available for a meeting without making any adjustments to their regular schedule.

Synchronous Communication

Although asynchronous communication has become simpler these days due to the availability of apps and software, it's still not the ideal solution for most organizations.

Instead, synchronous communication is the way to go, especially for work that requires consistent and uninterrupted collaboration. Synchronous communication means that collaboration takes place in real-time, similar to how people interact in person. This is only possible on a regular basis when everyone is working in overlapping (if not identical) time zones.

Shorter Delays in Messaging and Responses

If you work with employees in opposite time zones, chances are slim that you'll get a response from them during the U.S. workday. Your workforce will most likely be asleep when you email them or send a message in the Slack channel.

Thus, you'll have to wait till the next day to get a response. Due to this, projects can be delayed since communication simply takes too long.

Higher Productivity

Based on all of the benefits mentioned above, it's easy to see how working in similar or overlapping time zones results in higher team productivity.

With everyone on the same page and immediately available for correspondence, teams can easily move tasks forward without any delays. It also eliminates the need for long email chains or messages in chat apps, which are time-consuming at best and unproductive at worst.

Related: How to Hire the Best Discord Bot Developer?

Countries With Time Zones Similar or Adjacent to the U.S.

If you plan on hiring people from overlapping time zones to build a more productive remote team, here are some countries to consider.

Mexico

Mexico is divvied into four time zones, and three are the same as the U.S. — PST, CST, and EST. Besides similar time zones, the proximity of Mexico to the U.S. also makes it a perfect country to hire employees from.

You can easily travel to Mexico for in-person training sessions or other administrative tasks that aren't as effectively done online.

Costa Rica

The time zone in Costa Rica is the same as CST, which means that U.S. companies in Minnesota, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin can hire employees from Costa Rica who share the same work day.

Some parts of Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas also follow CST. If your company is located in one of these regions, communication will be smooth if you decide to hire Costa Rican employees.

us and south america time zones overlap

Peru

The time zone in Peru is the same as CST or EST depending on the time of the year. Even when there's a slight time difference due to daylight savings, you'll still have sufficient overlapping time for holding meetings or collaborating with your remote employees.

Another benefit of hiring employees from Peru is the country's high English proficiency. Statista reports that Peru has a score of 505 (out of 800) in terms of English proficiency, which is much higher than other Latin American countries like Colombia and Ecuador.

Colombia

The Colombian time zone is the same as EST, which is followed in the following U.S. states: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, part of Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, part of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, part of Indiana, part of Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, part of Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

Companies in these states should hire Colombian citizens for remote work if they want to benefit from the easier collaboration and swift communication that come as perks of overlapping time zones.

Cuba

The time zone in Cuba is also the same as EST, allowing companies in the aforementioned states to hire workers from the country.

Cuba also ranks higher than other Latin American countries with a 521 score in English proficiency. It's only below Bolivia and Argentina in this regard, making it the third most English proficient country in the region.

Ecuador

The time zone in Ecuador is the same as EST. Apart from real-time communication, hiring employees from Ecuador comes with additional benefits — in particular, the country's tech initiatives have made the local workforce well-versed in technology and digital transformation.

Brazil

If you can bear a slight difference in time zones, Brazil is a remarkable option, with the local time zone being only 1 hour ahead of EST. Moreover, the country's government is focusing excessively on tech innovation, making Brazilian employees primed for digital transformation roles. In fact, Stanford reports that there's a tech boom in São Paulo at the moment due to the country's inclination towards mobile and web development.

Many companies are hesitant to hire remote employees because of the perceived challenges in communication. However, the Brazilian workforce has a considerable English proficiency rating, making communication a breeze.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic's time zone is just 1 hour ahead of EST, which means you'll be able to hold meetings without inconveniencing anyone in your workforce.

Argentina

Argentina's time zone is 2 hours ahead of EST, giving you a time zone overlap of about six hours. In this duration, real-time communication is quite possible. Plus, you can hold meetings and get instant input from your remote workforce since they'll be working at the same time as your U.S. teams.

More importantly, Argentina ranks on top as the most English-proficient country in Latin America.

Chile

Like Argentina, the time zone in Chile is also 2 hours ahead of EST. While your employees may not be working at exactly the same hours, there's enough time zone overlap to facilitate collaboration on projects.

Chile also has a relatively stable economy in the region and low inflation rates. These conditions allow more people to complete their education and become job-ready every year.

Uruguay

The Uruguayan time zone is also 2 hours ahead of EST, giving U.S. companies a good opportunity to work with employees during the same working hours as the U.S. Uruguay has an English proficiency score of 509, which is higher than many other countries on our list, including Brazil and Peru.

Revelo: Find and Hire Latin American Tech Talent in US Time Zones

By now, you should know that working remotely in different time zones comes with its fair share of complications and shortcomings.

As a manager it is important to keep the working hours of your employees under control. If you have a team that works in more than one location, then it is even more important to make sure that there are no conflicts between working times at different locations. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to give up on flexible working arrangements. After all, such arrangements can be very useful for improving productivity.

When it comes to flexible working hours, a lot of people think that they have to choose between flexibility and a full-time job. However, this is not necessarily true. Flexibility can come in many forms and it is possible to combine work with other commitments without losing too much time from your day-to-day schedule.

For example, it’s possible to set up an office in your home so that you can work from home on occasion and still maintain some degree of regularity in your working hours. Or you can take advantage of online tools that allow you to streamline your tasks and get things done efficiently when you are away from the office.

There are also ways of combining work with other activities such as sport or socializing with friends and family members. So while flexibility may not always be easy, it’s certainly achievable if you have the right attitude towards it.

The ideal way to tackle this problem is to hire workers in similar or overlapping time zones. But how do you find these employees? Even if you think you're on the right track, you may not have enough time to put up ads on job boards or go through lengthy vetting processes to find the right talent.

In this scenario, Revelo is your ideal partner. Revelo helps you find top tech talent in Latin America, saving you the trouble, time, and resources you'd otherwise spend on finding and vetting talent in similar or overlapping time zones.

Here's what hiring Latin American talent with Revelo looks like: you convey your goals and tech demands to us, we find you a list of pre-vetted tech professionals in three days, you interview them, and hire the best people for the job. It's as simple as it gets.

Schedule a meeting today or sign up for our risk-free 14-day trial to make international hiring a breeze.

Need to source and hire remote software developers? Get matched with vetted candidates within 3 days.

Reх Huхford

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