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Do You Need Core Hours for Hybrid & Remote Team Success?

Remote Work

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Updated on:
February 28, 2024
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Updated on :

February 28, 2024
Hire International Employees at $199
Hire International Employees at $199
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Do You Need Core Hours for Hybrid & Remote Team Success?


The option to hire from a global talent pool lets you up your game as a business, but it also adds challenges associated with remote workers. If you’re working with a remote team based locally or globally, you may wonder how best to keep the team on track and manage workloads.

You may choose to have your remote team work flexible hours that fit in best with their schedules, or you could have them work core hours — a set schedule each team member must follow. Working with a globally based remote team complicates the situation because your team is likely based in various time zones with vast differences.

Before you decide how to manage your remote team, consider the pros and cons of using a core hours policy to make them more productive.

What are core hours?

At first glance, core hours may seem like a set schedule, meaning your team works 9 am to 5  pm regardless of whether they work in the office or remotely. But the actual core hours meaning isn’t that rigid. The term means that you and your team set aside core hours during which everyone has to be available for meetings, collaboration, and other activities that require your team to interact.

At some workplaces, core hours are times in which everyone has to be present in the office. Still, if you’re employing remote workers in other countries, you can’t expect them to travel to your office location once a week.

Core hours help improve employee productivity because your team can communicate with one another in real-time. Implementing a core hours policy also enables your team to offer better service because customers know when to expect someone is available for engagement.

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Core hours vs. flexible hours

Most employees value flexibility—over 65% of workers like taking advantage of flexible options offered by their companies. The majority of employees prefer flexible work hours. These numbers suggest that implementing a core hours policy would lower morale.

Setting core hours doesn’t completely remove the ability to have a flexible schedule. You need to set aside time for your team to be available during the work day. You don’t have to have core hours every day, but you can limit core hours to certain weekdays.

Flexible hours allow your employees to choose when and how they work. They can improve their work/life balance by scheduling work around family activities, children’s schedules, daycare, and other potential conflicts.

Some workers may use a flexible schedule to take a long weekend and pack their weekly hours into fewer days. While this is an excellent option for workers who may otherwise have a hard time managing their responsibilities, it can make the team less productive.

For example, if someone on your team works a flex schedule that doesn’t align with others, it may impede project schedules. If others on the team are waiting on a piece from someone with a flexible schedule, they may wait an extra day before moving the project forward.

Additionally, not having a set of core hours can make scheduling meetings more difficult. When your remote team isn’t required to be available simultaneously, these scheduling issues can also stall projects, particularly when the task at hand requires collaboration.

The pros and cons of core hours

There are many benefits of core hours and potential drawbacks to consider before implementing this concept at your own company.

Pros of core hours

Core hours give your team the ability to socialize and collaborate on projects. When your team has to be available at the same time for certain days of the week, they can schedule meetings more efficiently and collaborate on projects when they’re all available.

If your internal team projects are highly collaborative, using core hours can give your team a better sense of when to schedule meetings. It also helps them move projects forward because everyone on the team can answer questions faster. Nobody on the team is waiting for someone on a flex schedule to return to the office.

Core hours also help your team members improve productivity for the rest of their workday. During core hours, they can focus on meetings, collaborations, questions from the rest of the team, and other tasks that can cause them to lose focus.

Once the core hour has passed, your team can spend the rest of the day on regular tasks, doing project work, and interacting with clients. Since they know they will likely be distracted during core hours, they can better plan their workload.

When you require your remote team to either come into the office or be available during core hours, there is less risk of sidelining certain team members. Let your team work flexible hours, some may be more available during regular business hours. This can hinder morale if some team members feel ignored.

Utilizing core hours helps you manage the team without micromanaging them. They know they don’t have to be available all day throughout the week and can schedule their time. Employees who want to take a break can do so without fear of reprimand. You can schedule check-ins and team discussions.

Cons of core hours

Requiring employees during set hours every day or a few times a week might deter some people from applying to your company. They may see this requirement as a sign that you’re not as flexible as they may prefer.

Core hours are also challenging to implement when your team is based globally. Even if you have people working on different coasts of the United States, you lose some ability to overlap their schedules during traditional work hours. When everyone on your remote team is based in various continents, the schedule conflicts are harder to manage.

Because of time zone challenges, implementing a core hours policy could hinder your ability to attract top talent worldwide. Some of your global employees may resent being available in the middle of the night. You can manage this challenge by varying your core hours, so your employees essentially trade off who has to be available at non-traditional times.

Besides globally based remote team members, caregivers also need help with remote hours. If you have employees on your remote team caring for small children, aging parents, or another family member, they may not be able to work during core hours.

Flexible scheduling doesn’t work for all positions, either. You may need to hire customer service representatives and other client-facing positions that require specific availability. Using remote workers from across the globe allows you to be available to customers at all hours, but your representatives need to be able to work a set schedule every week.

Should your business utilize core hours?

Implementing core hours can be tricky when you’re utilizing a global workforce. While this model allowed for better collaboration and increased productivity, it’s harder to align your employees’ schedules.

For better results, shift your core hours so different team members have to be available outside standard work hours. Or, allow teams in similar time zones to observe the same core hours and come together once or twice a month as a large team. This way, your team can still collaborate, but one group of workers doesn’t feel like they’re sacrificing more than others.

When using a global workforce, you need to consider various employment laws. In some countries, it are illegal to work weekends. It may also be unlawful to work during religious holidays. Working with professionals who understand global HR laws is essential to ensure your core hours policy is compliant.

Let Skuad help you build your remote team

If you’re ready to start recruiting globally to expand your reach and improve your talent pool, let Skuad help you build your team. Our platform enables organizations to hire, onboard talent, manage payroll, and ensure country-specific compliance with employment laws in over 160 countries without setting up an entity.

Skuad’s global employment and payroll platform manages all your global HR and payroll, so you don’t have to worry about staying compliant with employment laws and different tax codes. You can make your international team more productive by offering core hours without worrying about other challenges associated with managing a worldwide remote team.

Schedule a demo today, and find out how we can help you create your best remote team.

About the author

Kate Jonson is a Software Engineer and Tech Writer. During the day, she writes codes and develops tech products. At night, she moonlights as a tech writer sharing her thoughts on work productivity and efficient HR management practices. 

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