Building your product with independent builders across borders, oceans, and timezones comes with a unique set of advantages and challenges.
Having a remote team based all around the world can be a good thing for productivity if you take advantage of overlapping hours for collaboration and get deep work done asynchronously.
Timezone Overlap is a simple way to choose how much time you want your builders to overlap with your company’s working hours.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably an adopter for what we like to call “cloud-based teams.” You probably work with distributed teams beyond the four walls of an office. These talented workers might only log in part time. And if your company is similar to the companies we work with, your team is probably distributed across several timezones—or even continents.
Building your product with independent builders across borders, oceans, and timezones comes with unique advantages (we’ll get to those later), but it also faces challenges.
Take A.Team, for example—we are a company of 120+ builders, some full-time, others independent, working across eight time zones in over 22 countries.
"But then something clicked. We realized that when we used timezones and overlapping working hours strategically, we shipped features more efficiently."
As a remote-first, future of work company, our founding team often felt like they were writing the guide for new ways to work—but it wasn’t always pretty. We failed quite a bit.
But then something clicked. We realized that when we used timezones and overlapping working hours strategically, we shipped features more efficiently.
Here’s my team's hack for maximizing productivity using overlapping hours:
There's a way that having a remote team based all around the world can actually be a good thing for productivity. We can take advantage of overlapping hours for collaboration and discussion and then we get our deep work done asynchronously.
I’m a Product Lead working out of Toronto (EST). I start a typical day with my Product Designer, Daniel who works out of New York (EST)—prototyping and ideating. Daniel fleshes out a concept or a UX component and we review async. By the afternoon, he finalizes the design. I create a task for our engineer Dima who works in Israel (IST) to assess technical feasibility. Dima starts his day with completing code reviews to unblock other developers and creates an engineering doc on the design. By the time I’m “in the office,” comments and discovery are ready.
As we learned how to build more efficiently internally, we wanted to pass those insights onto the companies who build with A.Team. That's why we prioritized launching Timezone Overlap. It's a simple way to choose how much time you want your builders to overlap with your company’s working hours.
Enter Timezone Overlap—here’s how it works
Step 1: Enter your start date and working hours
After specifying the roles and skills for the desired team members on the A.Team platform, move down to add your mission details. Enter your start date and tell us your team’s working hours.
Step 2: Choose your overlap hours
Move the slider to indicate how many hours you prefer your builders to overlap with your core hours. As you decide your overlap, keep in mind that the larger the requested timezone overlap the smaller the pool of available builders.
Step 3: Review your team + see timezone overlap
Together the TeamGraph (the A.Team algorithm) and your Team Architect form a team based on your team spec inputs. Once your team is ready, you can review your team members—and view in detail how much each builder overlaps with your company’s work hours.
Using timezones to your advantage
There is evidence to suggest that it doesn't require much overlap for a team to be efficient, assuming they have the right tools to communicate asynchronously. Here are some tips if you feel unsure about working across timezones.
Maximize your team’s efficiency with at least 2hrs overlap
- You'll get a larger pool of available builders
- The mission continues to make progress around the clock
- There are fewer distractions during deep work sessions because synchronous communication is confined to a 2-hour chunk of the day.
The future of tooling for distributed teams across timezones
At A.Team our goal is to help form the best team regardless of geography.
To enable transformation at a larger and faster pace we plan to integrate collaboration tools, launch onboarding playbooks to help the team hit the ground running, and release team management tools that improve communication and ideation to expedite the delivery of initiatives. More on that soon.
You can try out the new Timezone Overlap feature by building a new team or adding a new team member to an existing team.