How Flexible Scheduling and Remote Work Influence Traditional Time Management

published on 20 August 2023

67% of remote workers feel that the greatest benefit of working from home is the flexibility in how they spend their time.

In 2019, a staggering 74% of finance professionals cited the possibility of working remotely as among their top perks for considering a job role. Fast forward a few years, and the landscape has changed dramatically. According to Statista, the number of people who work remotely at least occasionally in the United States increased from 17% in 2008 to 44% in 20202. 

There is no doubt this trend will continue in the future, as more employers and employees realize the advantages of remote work, such as cost savings, increased productivity, better work-life balance, and access to a wider talent pool. The need for and acceptance of remote work in the accounting and finance sector has grown exponentially. 

This shift, while offering many advantages, poses new challenges in the domain of time management, particularly when dealing with remote teams spread across multiple time zones.

Understanding the profound influence of flexible scheduling and remote work on traditional time management can bring benefits if our goal is to efficiently manage remote and distributed teams. Given the intricacies of coordinating remote teams, especially those located in different countries, mastering the art of time management becomes essential.

Remote Teams in the Accounting & Finance World

Over the last few years, many accounting and finance firms have embraced remote work as a response to the shrinking labor market affecting the industry and the demands of a globalized workforce. This rise in remote teams presents both unique advantages and challenges.

The flexibility that comes with remote work often leads to increased job satisfaction, better work-life balance, and reduced overhead costs for firms. However, coordinating these distributed teams, and ensuring smooth workflow and communication, is an area that demands a renewed emphasis on time management.

The New Dimensions of Time Management for Remote Teams

Traditional time management models were predicated on the 9-to-5, in-office paradigm. Remote teams have turned this model on its head. Here are some dynamics that have been introduced:

  • Varied Time Zones: For firms with international remote teams, synchronization across different time zones becomes a challenge. It’s not just about tracking work hours; it’s about aligning them for collaboration.
  • Asynchronous Communication: Not all team members are online at the same time. This can lead to delays unless time management strategies account for this asynchronous nature of communication.
  • Diverse Work Rhythms: Some people are morning birds, while others are night owls. Remote work allows for this flexibility, but it also means varied peak productivity hours.

The Role of Technology in Time Management for Remote Teams

Digital transformation plays a significant role in aiding time management for remote teams. Accountants and accounting firms know this very well as this industry as being using technology advancements to pipeline their work for years. 

But apart from accounting-specific tools like QuickBooks or Wero, there are other tools and platforms, specifically tailored for remote teams that can streamline workflow, improve communication, and aid in effective time management.

Technology in time management
Technology in time management

As remote work becomes an integral part of the accounting and finance world, refining time management strategies for remote teams is no longer optional—it’s essential. By recognizing the unique challenges posed by distributed teams and proactively implementing tailored strategies, firms can ensure that they are well-positioned to navigate this new frontier of work.

Strategies for Effective Time Management with Remote Teams

67% of remote workers feel that the greatest benefit of working from home is the flexibility in how they spend their time. But this is not always possible or easy as most US accounting and finance firms still hold in-office teams based within the country boards, so dealing with international remote teams needs a fresh approach to time management. 

The biggest difficulty when it comes to time managing remote time is learning how much to control, without micromanaging; giving your team members freedom to act, without jeopardizing your pipeline or affecting other teams; Being able to trust your employees and for them to deliver. 

While these strategies are constantly changing and we all adjust to a pretty new working environment, some general recommendations are 

Consistent Check-ins: Establish routine check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page. This could be daily or weekly, depending on the nature of the project. And when we say “routine” we mean you set clear guidelines for when and how these check-ins must take place. Remember, this is not about micromanaging or over-controlling, it’s about building trust based on shared protocols. 

Time Zone Awareness Tools: Use digital tools that help you keep track of team members' local times. This ensures you schedule meetings or calls at convenient times for everyone. Also, make sure to clearly inform everyone at what times they should remain connected, especially if this schedule is different from the one the employee would normally use in his/hers country. Make sure everyone sets their working time and off-time in their calendars and digital tools.

Flexible Work Hours: Encourage team members to choose their working hours based on when they’re most productive, and when they can best collaborate with team members in different time zones.

Overlap Hours: Even with flexible hours, it’s useful to have a few set hours where everyone is available. This 'overlap' can be used for team meetings, brainstorming sessions, or addressing urgent issues.

Staggered Shifts: In situations where 24-hour coverage is needed, consider implementing staggered shifts. This ensures that someone from the team is always available, catering to clients or team members in different parts of the world.

Asynchronous Collaboration Platforms: Tools that allow team members to collaborate asynchronously (like shared documents, task management tools, etc.) can be a game-changer for remote teams.

Clear Communication Guidelines: Given the importance of clear communication in time management, set guidelines. This might include setting response time expectations or specifying preferred communication channels.

Encourage Time Blocking: Encourage team members to use time blocking, dedicating specific chunks of time to particular tasks. This can help in aligning collaborative efforts across time zones.

Challenges & Solutions in Managing International Remote Teams

As we said before, international remote teams add an additional layer of complexity. Time differences can be significant, cultural nuances might play a role, and even holidays can vary. So in order to tackle this issue specifically, we came up with a series of the most challenges that we, as a recruitment agency, came across and the most simple way to solve them. 

Challenge: Significant time zone differences lead to collaboration hurdles.


  • Rotate meeting times, so no single team bears the brunt of inconvenient timings always. 
  • Record meetings so members can catch up if they can't attend in real-time.

Challenge: Cultural misunderstandings cause communication breakdowns.


  • Invest in cross-cultural training. 
  • Encourage open dialogue and foster an environment of respect and understanding.

Challenge: Varied national holidays causing work disruptions.


  • Maintain a shared calendar that marks all team members’ public holidays. This ensures tasks are allocated with these holidays in mind.

Strategies for Assessing Burnout and Ensuring Work-Life Balance

With blurred lines between personal and professional spaces, burnout is a significant concern in remote setups. Effective time management should also consider the well-being of remote teams.

#1. Mandatory Breaks: Encourage team members to take regular breaks to rejuvenate. Tools like Pomodoro Technique can be useful in ensuring that work periods are interspersed with rest.

#2. Digital Detox: Promote periods where team members are encouraged to disconnect from digital devices, helping reduce screen fatigue.

#3. Clear Boundaries: While flexibility is a perk of remote work, it’s essential to establish clear start and end times for the workday, ensuring team members have ample personal time.

#4. Shared Office Days: Designate certain days of the week for team members to be in the office. This can help in facilitating face-to-face collaborations, team building, and training sessions.

#5. Home Office Infrastructure: For the days when employees work from home, ensure they have the necessary infrastructure. This includes ergonomic furniture, good internet connectivity, and access to all necessary software and tools.

Final Thoughts

Remote work and flexible scheduling have irrevocably altered the landscape of time management. For accounting and finance firms, navigating these waters requires a blend of innovative strategies, trust in their teams, and leveraging technology.

As firms adapt and evolve, one thing is clear: the firms that prioritize effective time management in these changing times will be better positioned to handle the complexities and demands of a global workforce.

In a world where "remote teams" and "time management" are more intertwined than ever, the onus is on firms to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that they are equipped not just for the challenges of today, but also for the opportunities of tomorrow.

With the right strategies in place, accounting and finance firms can transform these challenges into opportunities, setting the stage for success in a globally connected world.

    🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn
    🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn

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