What time zone are you in?
It’s only since starting my business that I have even considered time zones. My very first client has offices around the world, I format CV’s for them and quite often I receive emails over night from places such as Texas and Canada. For a few weeks it wasn’t a problem, the work started off slowly so I was doing them as they came in. But a few weeks in and I had a lot of CV’s to format and I found I needed to prioritise them in order to get them back to the consultants within their deadlines.
I downloaded a world clock app on my iPhone which meant I could easily see what time it was in Texas or Canada for example, so at 9am when I had an inbox full of CV’s it meant I could work on the London or Scotland ones first and then do the others later in the afternoon. I now have categories set-up in Outlook so when a new email comes in it’s automatically assigned a colour so I know which country it’s come from. It works really well and makes my Outlook look colourful too.
Being a virtual assistant means you can work for pretty much anyone in the world. There are not many restrictions, although there are some things you need to take into consideration when working with someone in a different time zone, both for you and the client.
- You can concentrate on work during your day (say 9am – 5pm) and not necessarily be disturbed by emails or phone calls from people in a time zone 7 or 8 hours behind or ahead of you.
- The client’s work is completed while they sleep and will be in their inbox at 9am on the next working day which no doubt will make them very happy.
- It is easier to prioritise your work when you work for clients in different time zones, you can concentrate on your different clients work at certain times of the day.
- Depending on what your role is you might even get an invite to the client’s country for a meeting or conference, travel opportunities are always exciting.
- An urgent request from a client in a different time zone might not be picked up by you immediately. An example of this happened to me this week, it was Friday evening and I had finished work for the weekend. A CV came in from Canada at 11pm my time (GMT+1) which meant I received it the next day, a Saturday, a non working day for me – it will have to wait until Monday morning unfortunately.
- A client may have to rely on email only instead of making use of phone calls, as your working hours don’t coincide with theirs.
Can you think of any more pros and cons of working with clients in different time zones to you?
As for me, I only have one client in a different time zone at the moment but I hope I’ll eventually get some more. I’ve struck up some good working relationships in the time I’ve been working with this client, I even have some great testimonials from some of them.