Stephanie Canon Managing Partner Follow
February 21, 2024

A San Francisco-based agency, Chapter Three primarily attracts clients from California and the West Coast. While remote work has become common, clients tend to gravitate to agencies close to home. With a three-hour time difference separating the coasts, West Coasters might find some comfort knowing their web partner is probably still at work if they run into issues late in the day. There are real disadvantages, however, to limiting your agency search to a single geographical area. Broadening your search opens you up to options that might be better suited to your needs. This is especially true for clients who live in Colorado or Minnesota, where same-time options may be more limited.

Overcoming Time Zone Barriers 

Even if you’re based in New York or Los Angeles, it’s still worth expanding your search. That’s because web agencies – at least the really good ones – often have highly distributed teams with members working in different parts of the world. These agencies depend on impeccable communication between colleagues and clients across vast differences in time. 

As an agency, Chapter Three has mastered the art of negotiating time differences. While our headquarters and many of our team members are based in the Bay Area, we also have team members in all four time zones of the continental United States and beyond. Many web larger agencies have even more widely distributed teams that help them survive and thrive.

Time zone map of the world

The Advantages of Flexibility

We use a mix of synchronous and asynchronous tools to help with communication across time zones and work schedules. We rely heavily on Teamwork, which is entirely asynchronous, for collaborative work. All communications are stored and can be accessed at any time. Additionally, we are meticulously organized and thoughtful when scheduling meetings. We select time slots that work for everyone, including clients and team members overseas. We’re also efficient during meetings, making sure to be mindful of everyone’s time. Internally, we are empowered to be flexible with our own work schedules. Our team has a mix of early birds and night owls, and we encourage team members to do what works best for them, while accommodating colleagues and clients. If you hire Chapter Three, somebody will always be paying attention to your project, regardless of your time zone. 

Woman working in window

6 Tips for Navigating Time Differences

Most of these tips apply even if you’re not dealing with time differences, although they’re all the more important if you are.

Know the time zones

At times this can be more complicated than simply counting forward or backward. For example, Arizona and Hawaii, as well as many countries worldwide, don’t observe Daylight Savings Time. This means when Daylight Savings time begins, the time difference between you and your agency may change.

Share work schedules

This is vital even when working with an agency in the same time zone, as traditional nine-to-five hours are increasingly becoming the exception rather than the rule. This is especially true in the web agency world, where even if an agency’s headquarters are in your state, their team members are likely dispersed across the country and beyond.

Find regular meeting times that work for everyone

No matter how extreme the time differences are, you can always schedule regular meetings if you do your math right. For example, if your team is based in New York and your agency is in Sydney, a late-afternoon meeting for you (say 4:30 or 5 pm) will likely find your Australian counterparts at the beginning of their workday at 8:30 or 9 am the following day.

Encourage flexibility in your team’s working hours

This makes sense even if you’re not dealing with time differences in your work. As we mentioned earlier, some people naturally like to work earlier in the day, and others later. Accommodating this puts you at a distinct advantage when dealing with global partners.

Asynchronous channels for less vital communication

Not every issue requires a live meeting to sort out. This is true for teams in the same time zone, but especially so across different time zones. A solid asynchronous collaboration tool like Teamwork or Jira will help immensely, but even email will do the trick for certain things.

Communicate Promptly

If you’re on the West Coast and your agency is on the East Coast, don’t wait until the end of the day on Friday to communicate something important. If you do, your eastern counterparts will likely have already gone home for the weekend. Acting on issues promptly is the best way to get problems addressed quickly, regardless of where your agency is located, but particularly if they’re in a different time zone.

Why Chapter Three?

Chapter Three is a leading web development agency in the heart of the technology hub that is California’s Bay Area. Our clients have included many companies and organizations outside our time zone, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, iCIMS, Childress Klein, HDR, OHM Advisors, and the community of Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Our team is global, flexible, and able to work with any schedule. We have 17-plus years of experience building robust, visually appealing websites, and deep expertise within the Drupal ecosystem. We are particularly well known for our work in the headless CMS space with our original Next.js-based product, Next-Drupal. This product allows us to build advanced, lightning-fast websites, while retaining all the out-of-the-box features of the Drupal backend.

Read more about our past projects or contact us to find out how we can help with your next project. We would love to hear from you!