Have you ever missed a call or appointment because you miscalculated a time difference?
Working across time zones is very common these days. It is easy to make a mistake that costs you an hour, and that’s all it takes to be a no-show for a virtual conference or demo. Not only is that embarrassing, but it reflects poorly on your company and may derail momentum as you follow up to reschedule.
Luckily, there are tools to help.
Websites and apps like Time and Date put lots of information at your fingertips. The current time in your location displays immediately, but you may also set a home location — for example, if you frequently do business with people in a particular city. Use the interactive map to pin different cities and view the time difference. English, German, and Norwegian are available.
And if you’ve ever gotten stuck in the spring or fall, wondering which countries have changed to or from Daylight Saving Time (DST), the WorldTimeZone site can show you with a glance at a map or by country listing. When you also consider that nations in the hemisphere opposite yours observe DST at opposite times of year, tools like this take the guesswork out of having to do calculations yourself. This site offers English, Spanish, German, Russian, and Chinese language options.
One of our favorite tools is World Time Buddy, which has a nice clean interface displaying times highlighted in a grid across your home and other selected locations. It also allows you to send an email with the selected times, and/or add appointments to calendars. It even sends a DST reminder a week prior to the change.
Time and Date and World Time Buddy have mobile apps for Apple and Android.
With assistance like this, it’s a lot harder to miss an important task or event. Of course, your digital calendar can help when you set up the appointment in the first place. Google, Outlook, and Apple Calendar settings can help you keep details straight when you make the appointment in a different time zone from the one in which it will take place, or even from a third location.
Teams working across time zones can observe some helpful practices, such as trading off scheduling decisions so that no single participant or group is inconvenienced by time zone too often. Making note of partner countries’ holidays also helps avoid conflicts and eases the scheduler’s job. Finally, be aware of the cultural nuances of each party. This helps set expectations as to punctuality and desire for small talk before a business discussion.
These tips will help you master your global interactions in no time!
Written by Ellen Harris, GMS – Product Manager, Content Group