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You can work across time zones without losing your mind

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: how to make the most of hiring across time zones while maximizing collaboration and productivity, the latest on layoffs and the jobs market and how employees feel about taking a stand vs. how the big boss feels.

— Michelle Ma, reporter ( email | twitter )

Hiring across time zones is possible. Here’s how.

In the ongoing war for talent (which is still a thing even amidst this economic downturn ), more tech workers are opting to bring their talents to companies that have flexible or remote work policies . Salesforce, Slack, Atlassian, Airbnb and Twitter are among the big tech companies that have announced “work from anywhere” policies for the majority of their employees.

  • In some ways, it’s one of the few win-win situations for startups and tech workers alike: Workers get to live in cheaper or more convenient locations, while companies get access to a dramatically larger talent pool in a competitive market. According to one startup CEO, Zach Cutler of PR tech company Propel, hiring this way has boosted its talent pool by a factor of 100.

I spoke to two startups that are successfully hiring and working across multiple time zones and consider themselves completely “time zone agnostic” about things to consider when hiring across time zones:

  • Companies like Deel and can take care of the logistics. Companies just have to pay a fee.
  • Hiring platforms haven’t caught up yet, but hiring managers can work their way around them. Job boards like LinkedIn are still set up to be country-specific, so you might have to post the same job listing multiple times to catch multiple job markets.

Hiring a global workforce is simple enough. But then there’s the challenge of collaborating effectively when your evening is your co-worker’s morning:

  • It doesn’t matter what the system is, as long as it’s mutually agreed upon. At Propel — which has employees across 10 time zones in Israel, the U.K. and the U.S. (including two working full time in camper vans) — employees loosely keep East Coast hours, with most of the overlap from 8 a.m. to noon, according to Cutler. For presentation software startup Pitch, which has employees distributed across the globe, the consensus is a six-hour overlap of working hours is generally what’s needed to work successfully together, according to co-founder and Chief People Officer Vanessa Stock.
  • Having colleagues in different time zones can be a productivity boon, according to Anna Roolf, Propel’s SVP of Operations and People. Banishing the idea of a 9-to-5 and consecutive meetings throughout the day has helped her carve out real focus time during the hours she knows most of her other co-workers are offline.
  • When you do have meetings, it’s even more critical that they’re productive. Come to the meeting with specific objectives. When you know your meeting is at a late hour for your colleague, be more considerate about scheduling meetings and make the most out of them. Pitch minimizes standing meetings and has few all-staff meetings that require everyone to be on at once, according to Stock.
  • Make creative use of productivity tools. Asynchronous video tools are a must-have for the time zone agnostic. Cutler is known to send Slack voice memos, which to Roolf “feels like I’m talking to him,” even if it was sent and received asynchronously.

Bad news bears

It’s another week of announcements of tech company layoffs, hiring freezes and slowdowns. For those who didn’t think things could get worse, this week’s round was also accompanied by rescinded job offers at places like Coinbase, Loom and Twitter. If you’re having trouble keeping track, my colleague Nat Rubio-Licht and I are continually updating Protocol’s running list of layoff, hiring slowdown and freeze announcements as they come in.

Overall, the job market is still strong. These announcements just tell one side of the story. According to this week’s updated U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the numbers are solid : The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, the lowest in decades. And the optimism holds true for the tech industry, which added 13,000 jobs. “There are no signs yet in the aggregate data of mass job losses in tech,” ZipRecruiter’s Chief Economist Julia Pollak told me.


Hybrid work success looks different depending on who you ask. Your company is made up of a cast of players, each with a role critical to a competitive and thriving business, and with an eye on their North Star: employee happiness. How do you appease all those stakeholders?

Learn more

To take a stand or to not take a stand?

For corporate America, that is increasingly a question execs are confronting, whether they like it or not. Coinbase has most recently been in the news for its hiring slowdown and rescinded offers , but you might remember CEO Brian Armstrong making headlines in late 2020 for refusing to take a stand on social issues outside of the company’s central mission (which he stated at the time as creating “an open financial system for the world”).

He’s been talking about it again this week on The Good Time Show , specifically saying that employees who are passionate about external issues are typically devoting more time to them, thereby marking themselves as underperformers who are “easy to eliminate.”

What’s interesting about Armstrong’s perspective is that most employees do care about social issues and want their companies to take a stand, at least according to a new survey of 1,900 workers from employer review site JobSage.

  • 64% of full-time employees believe it’s important for their employers to take a stand on social issues.
  • That percentage rises for Black respondents (83%), Gen Z respondents (82%) and women (72%).
  • Nearly one-in-four respondents said they have declined a job offer or opted not to apply for a job based on its stance (or lack thereof) on social issues.

More stories from us

New business model alert : Kabbage co-founders are back with a startup that pays employees to not change jobs.

Our take on Sheryl Sandberg’s Meta departure

“This is about saving democracy.” A billionaire and an Ethereum co-founder think blockchain can create a non-toxic Facebook.

Here’s what it’s like growing a startup in the middle of war : Allison Levitsky talks to tech leaders in Ukraine.


Rightsizing, where each meeting space is outfitted for a specific purpose, is top of mind for facilities pros. Reconfiguring rooms to support new hybrid work schedules enables personalization and a safe return to the office. Understanding how employees will use spaces as they come back will be critical for success.

Learn more

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Internal documents showed that Klarna offered paltry severance to laid-off employees. Workers fought back. And won .

Here’s what actually keeps companies from building inclusive workplaces.

Curious what Alphabet and Meta paid their employees on average last year? Here’s the data.

Many tech workers say they’d rather quit than be surveilled by their employers.

Need to do layoffs? Here’s how to do them with empathy , while preserving your brand reputation.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to . Have a great day, see you Tuesday.

Correction: This story was updated to correct Vanessa Stock's title. This correction was made June 13, 2022.

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