How Time Zone Affects IT Outsourcing Teams

How Time Zone Affects IT Outsourcing Teams

by Jesus Lopez   |   March 25, 2021   |     4 min read
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Today, outsourcing is no longer a strange or obscure tactic used by a handful of companies, it has become a regular strategy employed to utilize resources effectively and obtain more with less. 

Technology teams are a must in today’s world, as we’ve mentioned before every company is now a tech company – dependent on technology applications or delivering a solution or product through technology. So everyone is looking to build a great tech team that can enable them to do that, with a big part of them opting for outsourcing. 

Companies choosing to outsource are faced with a decision: should I outsource to South Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, or elsewhere? 

All else equals, the difference between these destinations are the time zone implications they have. But are they advantages or disadvantages? 

Same Time Zone Outsourcing to the US

Outsourcing locations that share a similar time zone with the US include Latin American countries like; Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and some parts of Brasil. With the majority of the overlap happening in the Central and Eastern time zones. Note that Mexico is the only Latin American country that shares Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern time zones with the US. 

Advantages of same time zone outsourcing

  • Having the same time zone allows for real-time collaboration and communication between the head office and the outsourced tech team or IT agency. 
  • It allows for quick resolution of questions, problems, or changes in direction with nearshore engineers
  • Reduces the need for super early meetings or super late nights. In essence, it reduces the need to coordinate meetings too much time in advance. 
  • Socializing between teams becomes more organic and natural. 
  • There’s less of a chance that work is overlooked as it’s handed off. 
  • Same time zone means proximity, which in turn means that if travel is necessary, it should be a short trip. 
  • While not necessarily true for every location in the same time zone, countries that are close to the US – like Mexico – boast cultural similarities that can also result in increased productivity and efficiency. 

One Shift Time Zone Difference to the US (+5 to +10 hours)

Outsourcing locations with one shift time zone difference to the US include European countries like; Ukraine, Romania, and Poland. The difference in time zone range from five hours ahead all the way to ten hours ahead of the US depending on the location. The most common time difference is being 7 hours ahead. 

Advantages of one shift time zone outsourcing

  • If systems and procedures are implemented, it allows for continuous development work to be done for ¾ of the 24-hour day. 
  • With a single shift in overlap, communication and collaboration is limited, but can still happen in real-time with offshore engineering teams
  • Resolution of problems, questions, and changes in direction can happen most of the time, with the only exceptions being early during the US day. 
  • Most of the time there’s always someone online, this works great for companies outsourcing tech support teams, they can cover a wider range of time zones. 
  • Socializing between teams is still organic, although it might feel rushed


Two Shift Time Zone Difference to the US (+10 to +15 hours)

Outsourcing locations with two shift time zone difference to the US include South and Southeast Asian countries like; India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The difference in time zone ranges from ten hours ahead all the way to fifteen hours ahead of the US depending on the location. The most common time difference being 14 hours ahead.

Benefits of one shift time zone outsourcing

The Takeaway

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IT support is critical for small as well as multinational businesses. By outsourcing a proficient IT team from various countries, organizations can benefit from flexible timings, budget-friendly costs, and adept workers. On the flip side, time zones may lead to delays in communication and, ultimately, failure to complete a project on time. 

Thus, to ensure an effective and reliable IT team, businesses need to choose wisely by setting precise requirements, visualizing overlap hours, setting up effective communication methods, and fixing appropriate meeting times. 

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