For the last six months I have been granted wishes from my very own fairy godmother on the other side of the world. Our Operations Manager, Laura, is now working remotely from New Zealand and here I highlight the benefits I have noticed from having an employee in a different time zone.
Fairy godmother or remote worker?
A fairy godmother, as depicted in fairy tales, has magical powers to grant wishes and make dreams come true. She appears at a crucial moment in someone’s life and uses her powers to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Similarly, a remote worker has the ability to work from anywhere and collaborate with colleagues and clients from all over the world. This flexibility and connectivity can open up new opportunities for businesses, create jobs in remote or underserved areas and help bridge cultural and linguistic barriers.
Just as a fairy godmother can provide guidance and support to the protagonist of a story, a remote worker can offer valuable expertise and insights to their team or clients. They can bring fresh perspectives, innovative solutions and diverse experiences to the table, which can lead to better outcomes and increased productivity. Moreover, like a fairy godmother, a remote worker can often work behind the scenes, quietly but effectively making a difference in the lives of others.
Working in a different time zone
I’m not saying it’s perfect and it doesn’t come without it’s flaws but so far, so good. I end my working day by sending tasks I’d like Laura to complete and by the time I wake up in the morning – BOOM! They’re done.
Although at times it would be useful to chat directly, and our time difference does allow us to do this occasionally, it is so useful to be able to sleep at night knowing my fairy godmother in New Zealand is waving her magic wand and getting things done.
When considering working closely with someone in a different time zone your brain immediately goes – “but how are we ever going to communicate effectively if we can’t talk to each other whenever we need or want to?”
Communication is key. Obviously. And this becomes a challenge when one of your team is working from their laptop on the other side of the world but it isn’t a barrier we cannot overcome.
At the beginning of the process, we regularly emailed and used Google Chat to keep each other updated on the progress of tasks. Screenshots and Loom videos became our best friends.
We have recently began using (from the recommendation of none other than our MD2MD Founder, Bob) a working tracker sheet (on Google Sheets) where we list Laura’s tasks, write progress updates to each other, mark tasks as urgent or needing review from one another and when completed can mark the task as closed. This has certainly strengthened our communication with one another and avoids the inevitable of emails getting lost or forgotten.
Overall, remote work has become increasingly popular and successful for many companies and I would recommend all business leaders to consider incorporating remote workers into their teams.
May you all be granted the assistance of your own personal fairy godmother!
Written by Emma Phipps, Managing Director at MD2MD