Missed a meeting due to a timezone mix up? Received a rogue 3am work call? How often have you had to google, ‘what timezone is UTC, EST or BST?’
It’s surprising in our digital age that organising meetings across timezones can incur so much back and forth, as well as confusion.
However it doesn’t take much to simplify working across timezones and make misery over international meetings a thing of the past.
We’ve reviewed the top timezone working tools out there to understand which is the most effective in helping you supercharge your meetings across timezones.
How do timezones work?
So why the timezone difference? Our global timezones are built around the midday sun, ensuring that it’s at its highest point in the middle of the day around the world. Achieving this with the sun’s rotation requires clever tweaks, all measured from the Greenwich Meridian in England. The time here is known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) – the global benchmark for timezones.
What timezone am I in?
Figuring out what timezone you’re in isn’t always as easy as consulting a map. Some timezones change their name and time when they use Daylight Saving Time (DST) – incorporating ‘daylight’ or ‘summer’ into their name. For instance California’s Pacific Standard Time (PST) becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) and Greenwich Meantime (GMT) becomes British Summer Time (BST). However not all countries or regions adopt this approach.
Timezone vs. local time
Local time and timezone are often used interchangeably, though make no mistake – they are not the same. During DST, California and Arizona have the same local time but are not in the same timezone, as Arizona does not adopt DST. Furthermore, some timezones may use the same abbreviations but be located in other regions with entirely different UTC offsets.
In review: timezone clock
In days gone by, calculating the time difference meant consulting an array of labelled clocks on your office wall – London, New York, Dubai, Chicago, Glasgow. Nowadays it can still be helpful to consult the world clock function on your smartphone or even make use of a world time watch if you have one.
Yet coordinating meetings across timezones using a timezone clock still leaves a large margin for error, as many of them don’t automatically update to reflect DST or calculate the time difference for you.
In review: timezone map
A digital timezone map or chart is a step in the right direction. It should at least automatically reflect each country or region’s accurate local time, taking DST into account.
However matching up your colleagues’ exact global locations and local times can become really complicated when sending calendar requests. Your colleagues or clients may have to manually change your calendar invitation to their local time and hope that they’ve interpreted it correctly.
In review: timezone converter
Much like a timezone map, a good timezone converter can help to further simplify the process. However they still fail to take the leg work out of finding a mutually suitable meeting time, coordinating the meeting across timezones and ensuring that attendees accurately diarise the date and time. The best way to fully integrate and optimise your meetings across timezones is to use a timezone meeting planner.
In review: time zone meeting planner
Appointedd is the world’s only truly multi-timezone meeting planner. Removing the need for cross timezone maths, we can ensure you and your customers receive the most seamless booking experience, wherever you are in the world.
With local time display and two-way synchronisation with all major calendars, including Google Calendar, your schedule is bookable online, on any device, in any timezone 24/7. Schedule conference calls with multiple participants and manage your team remotely.
Why not give it a try?
Published on 29 February 2020