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Working Moms

Love some advice on how to reply to my CMO asking to move a weekly meeting to either 7:30 or 8:30 PM to accommodate 2 developers in India. On average these run 60-90 minutes. As we have become permanent remote staff, meeting are getting later and later and I still have meetings starting at 9AM everyday. I think a meeting starting this late is unreasonable but I don’t want to be the only person that speaks up. I know at least 2 other coworkers feel the same and don’t feel comfortable speaking up

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You have to get over the fear of speaking up as a start. Having 9 am meetings daily AND long late night meetings is a no and a boundary that you need to set. I would state plainly this causes you to have x hour days and you need to prioritize your day. Offer an early am meeting instead.

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The issue is that those 2 developers in India have families too, and maybe other obligations. I’m not sure where you are located, but see if there is a compromise (definitely the 2 times a week in one direction vs 2 times a week in the other direction). Your CMO should know that productive people are well rested people... and speaking up as “one” can be “for many” (i.e.: hey boss, had a chance to speak with the team and we think this... being the messenger is hard, but know I’m not the only one who feels this way, I’m just the one who has a good relationship with you and know that you and I can have a candid and respectful conversation...)

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Definitely speak up and set boundaries. I see from your title that you’re in a global team. I work on a global team and my team has weekly 8:30pm calls with our client. We even have 6, 7 and 8am calls sometimes depending on which markets. Try to negotiate later start times when you have late calls. Most employers won’t know the issues until someone speaks up and I encourage you to do it as other colleagues will thank you for it if they might be too scared to say anything. Let the CMO know that you do have family obligations and working such long hours will not only burn you out, but also the rest of the team. If they don’t budge, give yourself breaks within the day, so you’re not working straight. Or if you had a long day, give yourself a break the next day to not have to work every hour by starting the day later.

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I worked with an offshore team for years. We alternated morning/evening meeting times. These were 2x a week so that meant we each had a meeting that was late each week. But late calls are part of the deal with offshore teams. I doubt that will change in your case. Suggest alternating evenings/mornings every week and see if they go for it. Otherwise, you have to manage your time elsewhere. On the days I had late calls, I blocked mornings and started later. If I couldn’t hold the line in the blocked time, I just had a longer day. OR I would stop a bit earlier. When people complained that I was stopping earlier, I clarified priorities— do you need me in this XX meeting or the India call? (And reiterated that I had family obligations that I needed to work in around/before the evening call). My calls STARTED at 9pm so it was a little easier to take a break in between, but because it was a late night, time blocking during the day was extra important for my sanity.

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In similar situations, except work with Japan (14 hrs difference) for past 2 years. What worked for me? Setting 2 days in the week for late PM calls, be very upfront that I will stick to the agenda and time, and will not be able to go beyond the destined allotted time (sometimes its happens with senior management given the culture difference and I have to adapt though I fume later), and then either start the next day late or switch off at 3 PM on the day of call and log in at 7 PM. Is it ideal? No, but its not too bad for 2 days of the week. Just like everyone else, I have to speak up and reject plenty of meetings set beyond those 2 days, and sometimes beyond feasible time (like 10 PM) and its hard! Really hard! But has to be done and my whole team and other divisions do the same! Infact, I learnt from a senior member on how to deal with expectations of meeting across multiple timezones (he works across Singapore and Japan), and also to find zen when everyone wants your evening time!

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Just to add my husbands team is dispersed across Europe, US, Mexico, India and Singapore. There are time when they connect at 10 PM, and the team takes off half day next day. So, my suggestion would be to go with some alternatives that work for you in lieu for giving the evening away! Its hard for everyone working across countries. Like my colleagues sometimes take calls at 6 AM from Japan to accommodate Basel and US.

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