In this blog post, we're diving into a key question that often pops up when considering hiring accounting staff in the Philippines:

What's the best time for them to work?

If you’re in Australia, your time 3 hours ahead of the Philippines (depending in which state you’re in), so aligning work shifts is doable.

However, in the US we’re +- 13 hours behind the Philippines (depending what state you’re in) - so it requires some thought.

First things first, there's no one-size-fits-all answer here, but I'll throw four options your way and share some thoughts on each.

Let's break it down in order of which shifts the most desirable for Filipino employees.

Option 1: Flexible Work Hours

Topping the list in terms of desirability for Filipino employees is a flexible schedule.

I mean, who wouldn't want to pick their own hours, right? With this schedule they’re able to choose when they’re on an offline - as long as they meet certain pre-set deadlines.

It’s a big draw card in terms of attracting top talent, especially for more senior employees who don’t want or need intense management.

Of course, with flexibility, you'll want to make sure there's some overlap between yourself and your employee in the day so that you can touch base and keep things humming smoothly.

Option 2: Day Shift

Next up in terms of desirability is for your Filipino employee to work during their day shift, hitting the grind during what we call "normal people time."

As mentioned, the Philippines is more of less 13 hours ahead of the US (depending on what state you live), so their day shift means they’re working during our night time.

When it’s 8am for them, for instance, it’s 7pm for us the previous day. When it’s 8am for us, it’s 9pm in their night time. It can be a little tricky to get your head around, we know!

Option 3: Mid Shift

Third in terms of desirability is the mid shift.

This mean they’re working their afternoon through to the evening. Think 2pm to 10pm or noon to 8pm.

For us, this would be the wee hours of the morning (1am) till about 9am.

Option 4: Night Shift

Last but not least, we've got the night shift. This means they’re working around 9pm to 5am. This shift is for those of us who would like our employees to follow US time zones - as it would align with our usual 8am to 4pm hours.

If you’re wondering who would be willing to work this shift, you’ll be surprised. There's a decent chunk of folks who dig this setup. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s around 20-40% of candidates.

So who would want a night shift?

Often times there are moms who are craving a peaceful work zone after the kids are tucked in. They then go to sleep after they’ve dropped their children off at school.

PS: Check out these
6 important management tips for leading your Filipino team.

The Importance Of Overlap

Now, let's talk about nuances.

Overlapping hours are crucial to keep your team on track, allow for check-ins and stand-up meetings, and touch base with each other.

2 hours of overlap in your working shift a day is a good number for getting things done and fostering collaboration.

However, my recommendation is to aim for 4 hours a day.

If you're offering your employee a flexible schedule, lock in 4 fixed hours and allow them to choose when they work for the rest of their time.

While you may only need one to two hours of overlap for them and you right, if you have a growing team in the Philippines you're

they will also need time coordinate and talk to each other.

So, if everybody's schedule is flexible and there’s only one or two hours that everybody's working at the same time, that's not

going to be enough for them to meet in addition to you meeting with them.

So, having 4 hours allows them to have their meetings to align in their own time, and they can then choose which hours they’d like to align with my time.

The Time Zone We Use

As someone on Pacific Time, I've found my sweet spot for TeamUp with option two (their day shift). Their daytime syncs well with my late afternoon.

So for example, my 5pm is their 8am (at least in the summer). So, if they start their day at 7 or 8am, that gives us 2-3 hours of overlap. That's really all we need.

If you're on Eastern time, it gets a little bit trickier because they're exactly 12 hours ahead of us. When it’s 8am for you, it's 8pm for them.

So as I mentioned, getting at least 4 hours overlap scheduled between you is great. What you could do is have a fixed schedule where your employees work the swing shift or afternoon until midnight, or they could work those 4 hours and then choose other hours throughout the day.

You'll have to choose what hours they work based on what works for both of you.

Is Two Hours Enough?

Now you’re probably wondering, how is 2 hours overlap enough time to get everything done?

I'll be honest, at the very beginning of your employee’s journey, especially during training you're sometimes going to wish

you had more time.

But realistically, most of the time you're going to give them some training and work to do and you'll want to check in with them later.

So even though every now and then you'll wish you had more time, it's usually fine.

And there’s a hidden benefit in having just a couple of hours of overlap …  It stops you from micromanagement.

It gives you just the right mix of autonomy and collaboration. In my experience, it makes us focused.

If my team needs my help, if I need to train them on something or need them for a specific tasks, I know that I only have these hours to make it happen.

It not only makes me better organize my work, but it makes them better organize their questions so that they can get their questions answered when I’m available.

So there you have it – no one-size-fits-all, but hopefully, these options shed some light.

And here's a little tip: check out World Time Buddy.

It's a nifty free tool that makes coordinating across multiple time zones a breeze.

By the way, if you’re wondering how to up your team’s accountability without adding more meetings, we’ve got you covered. Read here.

If you've got questions or need assistance, drop a comment below or reach out to TeamUp.

We're all about helping accountants and bookkeepers build their dream teams in the Philippines without the ongoing BPO fees.

If you want to learn more, hit the button below to sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter where I share my top hiring and management tips for working with staff in the Philippines.  

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Or check out some some more resources on hiring in the Philippines here:

Feel free to reach out, we're always happy to connect

Written By
Isaac Smith
Isaac has been building businesses since 2014. He sold an eCommerce business in 2019, co-founded Summit eCommerce Advisors - a bookkeeping and advisory firm, TeamUp - a recruiting business, and hosts the Next Level eCommerce podcast. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area, where he loves snowboarding with his daughter and trying to convince his wife to do outdoorsy things.
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