We live in a global world. One where we can do business with a stranger on the other side of the world just as easily as a neighbor down the street. This reality means there is a need to manage multiple time zones when scheduling meetings and communicating with business associates. Whether you have to manage domestic time zones, or you have contacts across the globe, having the right processes and tools in place will make scheduling a non-issue.
Time Zone Best Practices
Cater to the Individual
You likely work with contacts on a daily basis that operate in different time zones than you do. In fact, if you work remotely, your executive may even be in a different time zone. When you are communicating with someone else about an upcoming meeting or event, always use that person’s time zone. Prevent any confusion upfront.
Leverage Multiple Clocks
If you are in constant communication with people in a different time zone, it can be helpful to have a visible clock at your workspace that shows what time it is there. If you rely on your computer to track the time, you can easily add multiple time zone clocks to both Windows and Mac computers. This article shows you how!
Set Aside Time Blocks
Does your executive have frequent meetings with international colleagues and business associates? Once time zones have a 5+ hour variance, scheduling meetings becomes tricky. To help offset this, find blocks of time that work for all parties and put them on hold in your executive’s calendar. By keeping these blocks of time free, you ensure that your executive always has time for contacts in other parts of the world.
Use the Appropriate Abbreviations
When you are communicating a specific time to someone, always include what time zone you are referencing. Take the time to ensure that you’re using an abbreviation that accurately reflects the location and time of year. This website is a great reference for time zone abbreviations.
Time Zone Tools
There are a lot of options for tools to help you deal with time zone differences. Find one that meets your needs and makes your life easier.
Here are a few to consider:
Spacetime.am is great for remote teams. You can use this tool to show time zones for everyone on your team, even part-time employees and contractors. The tool will not only show you the current time for a colleague, but will show you the best times to schedule meetings based on that person’s location and schedule. It has a desktop app for easy access, visual scheduler, and location status (which updates based on your current location). Spacetime.am has both free and paid plans depending on your team’s needs.
Every Time Zone gives you a real time view of various time zones. Sign-up for a free account and you can customize what time zones are displayed. With their straightforward features, you can easily find times that work for all parties when scheduling meetings in advance. If you upgrade to pro, you can even create meeting invites right from the tool.
Time Temperature has several time zone related tools that are really helpful. The site gives you access to time zone maps, daylight savings time maps, world clocks, and converters. While all of these features are useful, their Meeting Planner tool comes out on top. It gives users the ability to schedule meetings for multiple contacts across various time zones. You simply have to enter your meeting date and all of the locations you are scheduling for. From there, Meeting Planner will give you an easy to consume, color coded table of times that will work for all locations.
Two other tools to consider that are similar to Time Temperature’s Meeting Planner are:
Time zones can make scheduling complicated. Following best practices and using the right tools will allow you to breeze through these pain points with ease.