Being in client services, it’s hard to label your career as a ‘9-5’ job. The majority of our clients aren’t in our EST zone, so sometimes our 9-5 doesn’t always align with the regular working hours of our overseas partners.
The most important thing is to keep the client happy, so sometimes you’ll catch yourself working either a little earlier or a little later than the average workday. Below are a few tips to make your after-hours life a little more comfortable and keep lines of communication open from time-zone to time-zone.
Seems obvious, but PLAN AHEAD
Our work day usually ends well before our clients’. To ensure the communication is ongoing and plans are constantly being put into action, we need to plan everything in advance and think ahead. Before our team has left the office, we should have communicated everything in e-mail that we need our partners to handle, answer, and send us before our next business day.
Of course there will be last minute requests and asks, but if we think ahead to what we will need in the next few days, we can make sure nothing will slip through the cracks, and no time is lost when you suffer from time-zone-differentiation.
Don’t sacrifice family time
Even though both sides of any partnership will try to respect each other’s time, there may have to be some compromise. If your clients are on the same continent, usually calls can be worked out so neither party has to be on the phone into the wee hours.
However, we do have multiple overseas partners. When our workday is over at 5pm, there’s begins at 9am. We have to accommodate, and sometimes this means setting time aside in our EST evenings.
Advice on how to best adjust? Get home, get comfy, and get productive. If you have a call scheduled for 6:30 pm, change into your jammies, snuggle up with your kitty, and dial in! Some people are way more productive in a quite home environment, and this way you are not missing out on family time, while still showing the utmost support for your client.
Communicate from a world away
Being open with partners, clients and coworkers is important for work-life balance. No one is going to demand you are working 24/7, and they will understand if your workday hours are different from theirs. Establish a routine and get into a communication groove so nothing is missed, no one has to work around the clock, and you can keep binging that Netflix show stress-free.
It’s also important to establish an ‘in case of emergencies’ procedure and contact point on both sides for anything that may come up after regular working hours. This way, if there’s something that needs immediate attention everyone is prepared and knows where to turn. Develop a partnership where honestly really is the best policy and there is support on all fronts.
When working with partners across the border, it’s our job to bridge the time-zone gap and make everyone feel like they are within arm’s reach.
Long distance relationships can be hard, but not if you are flexible, passionate, and you both put in the effort and commitment!