6 tools that connect remote teams across different time zones
It’s not a secret that today people can work remotely and connect with each other across different time zones. However, the concept of time zones didn’t exist until the 19th century. In 1884, during the International Meridian Conference, the Greenwich Meridian of the UK became the prime meridian for time zone measurement, and the international standard time system was adopted. The international 24-hour time zone system appeared from this, in which all zones referred back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the prime meridian, so we can consider GMT as the first time zone management tool. Since then, everything has changed, though GMT still remains a world time standard. In this article, we will take a look at several time zone management tools and see how remote teams benefit from them.
Tagline: Keep track of where and when your team is.
Description: With Timezone.io you can easily track the local time of your global team members. By using a simple and convenient user interface you can visualize which cities your team members are currently in and see the local time in those cities in chronological order. As a result, you know which team members are within their working hours and thus available at the moment. Timezone.io saves you a lot of time on googling the local time of different cities.
Used by: Buffer, Discourse, Trello, Piktochart
Pros: Simplicity, efficiency, clean UX/UI.
Cons: Lack of some helpful features such as planning a meeting or Slack integration.
Tagline: Bring your remote team closer.
Description: Spacetime is a Slack bot that allows remote team members to add their location and set their work hours. This allows the bot to automatically translate the time zones in Slack chat as you type. The bot also helps to schedule meetings and convert the time zone to one of the participants, making sure that no one misses the meeting because of time zone differences. Spacetime developers are now planning to release Spacetime Pro, an advanced version of Spacetime that is available for non-Slack users.
Used by: Unity, Codecademy, Invision, Envoy, Skyscanner
Pros: Simplicity, quick integration with Slack, planned availability outside of Slack.
Cons: No cons reported yet.
Team Time Zone PRO
Tagline: Good for managing distributed teams via Slack.
Description: Team Time Zone PRO is a Slack web application and Slash Command to help manage a distributed team. The tool can be used both as Slack integration and independently as a web app. With Team Time Zone PRO, you can type a Slash command /ttz in Slack to sort the images of team members according to their time zones. A web application enables you to visualize the team by time zones and schedule meetings with the time zone info in mind.
Used by: Deep Crawl, Swoogo
Testimonial: “I work in two global teams and Team Time Zone PRO really helps me coordinate them. I love it.” Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder at Swoogo
Pros: Simplicity, quick integration with Slack, availability outside of Slack.
Cons: Some users reported speed problems when managing over 100 team members.
Time Zone Ninja by Voxeet
Tagline: Scheduling meetings around the world just got easy.
Description: Time Zone Ninja is a website where you can quickly schedule meetings across different time zones. Just enter the locations and preferred time, and Time Zone Ninja will pick the optimal meeting time for your call.
Used by: LeadScanr, Ninchanese
Testimonial: “Sweet! Great to find a somewhat convenient time across Europe, the US, and China!” Sarah Aberman, Ninchanese co-founder (via ProductHunt)
Pros: Web-based, easy to use, no need to sign up or install anything.
Cons: Lack of Time Zone Ninja as a browser extension.
Tagline: Coordinate your remote team.
Description: Teleport Sundial is a web-based collaboration tool that shows the locations of your team members on a map. Hovering over a team member will display their current time zone and the time they were last seen. You can also switch to a time zone view and move a slider to compare the times of your team members. This is convenient when selecting the optimal time for meetings.
Used by: Jobbatical, GitLab
Testimonial: “We love it. Thanks for such an awesome little app!” Job van der Voort, VP of Product at GitLab (via Twitter)
Pros: Simple user interface, convenient switching between the map and time zone views, integration with other collaboration tools by Teleport.
Cons: Lack of integrations with tools such as Slack.
Tagline: Never think of timezones again!
Description: There is a Mac OS app that allows you to track the local time of your teammates. Features such as scheduler board, admin panel, focus hours, and WakaTime integration are coming soon.
Used by: Spectrum, Formidable Labs, Periodix
Testimonial: “Exactly what we need in our distributed team—see at a glance what time it is for all the others!” Max Stoiber, Technical Co-founder at Spectrum (via ProductHunt)
Pros: Beautiful design, usefulness, automatic detection of cities, Integration with Twitter accounts.
Cons: Too big size of the installation file, lack of features such as editing and organizing the team members, currently available only for the Mac OS.
Case Studies: How Remote Teams and Companies Use These Tools
Timezone.io and Piktochart
Piktochart is a simple tool to design presentations, infographics, and printouts. Until 2011, the company was based exclusively in its headquarters in Malaysia. Later, because of global growth, the company became semi-remote, with part of its employees spread around the world. Now the Piktochart team is using a range of remote collaboration tools, and Timezone.io is among them. According to their blog, some of their team members are “prone to globe-trotting” or work with them as part of the Remote Year program. Therefore, having tools such as Timezone.io is crucial for remote collaboration.
Teleport Sundial and GitLab
GitLab is the first single application for all stages of the DevOps lifecycle. Founded in 2011, GitLab has been remote only from the start. The GitLab team currently consists of 322 members from 41 locations. The company used Teleport Sundial to publish the map of their team member locations on their website.
There and Periodix
Periodix is an AI-based search engine that helps freelancers find jobs. Periodix team members are working remotely and have a 7-hour time zone difference, so it’s difficult for them to manage their time. Besides, their main clients are freelancers, so Periodix team knows the pains of remote workers. According to their feedback on ProductHunt, “freelancers and remote teams can use There and don’t spend their time searching time zone of a client or a teammate.”