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Working remote in Europe and Asia


I thought it might be valuable to share how I manage my hours while working remote in Europe and Asia with teammates primarily in US time zones. Just to preface, what works for me may not work for you. Digital nomading across time zones will take some time to adjust and get right depending on your work environment, circumstance, lifestyle and the plans you have in the places you’re visiting. The most important thing to keep in mind is to always be flexible and agile.

Because I work for a remote-first organization, we already have established a fairly efficient communication culture. I made sure to communicate well in advance to my managers and team that I will be moving bases for a couple months. I have always led with the practice over-communication through the platforms we use, my team can probably attest to my daily async updates of things I’m working on. With all that said, I’ll list down some practical ways in how I normally break out my hours and what has been effective for me:

In Central European time zone working with US time zones

  • 13:00-21:00 or 14:00-22:00 on days when I need more synchronous working hours with my EST colleagues ie. for pair programming, as they will just be starting their day when I start mine after lunch. I would get up around 8 and head out by 8:30/9 and have 5 hours to explore, have breakfast and lunch, spend some time with friends and family and explore the city I’m in. This worked well for places that have siestas such as Italy and Spain where most places would be opened in the morning and close by lunch time.
  • 8:00-12:00 and 17:00-21:00 on days where I don’t need as much asynchronous time with my team aside from our ceremonies like standups and team meetings. Most of the meetings would happen 17:00 CET. This schedule allowed me to get focused heads down work first thing in the morning then spend the afternoon having lunch and adventuring. It also worked particularly well for places by the coast or on an island where you can spend the later afternoon when it isn’t scorching hot on the beach.

In ASEAN time zones working with US time zones - The UTC+07:00 time zone is a bit tricky as it is exactly 12 hours ahead of EST.

  • 18:00-02:00 or 17:00-01:00 on days where I don’t have plans to have evening outings or plan to travel inbound to another city. This schedule was doable but not particularly ideal. It would be for days where the last meeting I would take would be 2 AM. The one benefit is that I have a full day to spend at my leisure before work. There were evenings where it was challenging to get work done but the quiet of the night also lends to the ability to focus.
  • 10:00-14:00 and 21:00-01:00 on days where I want to spend the day out with friends and family by a beach. I usually go with this schedule if the previous day was a longer stretch.
  • 9:00-17:00 on days where I don’t have any async meetings with team, normally on Fridays. This gives me the opportunity to work a regular 8 hours stretch and have a kick start to the weekend in the early evening or drive out to another town to stay for the weekend.

I will follow up with another post on more tips, practice and tools to adopt for an effective workflow when it comes to working across time zones!