Working with Global Teams: Pesky Time Zones

This is part of the Working with Global Teams series

Previous Post: Working with Global Teams: e-mail confirmation

This post touches again on different time zones.

Often, especially when members of the team are in different countries, it is easy to “forget” what the local time is of the other team members.

Added to that, unless you have a good understanding of the geographical location of a particular place, the Time Zone Abbreviation may not mean a thing. For example…knowing that Kuressaar is in Estonia is one thing. However, knowing that the time zone abbreviation for Estonia is EET  is another. Unless you happen to live in Eastern Europe, you might have to keep work out what EET actually means.

Even once you have worked out that EET is Eastern Europe Time, you then have to work out what that actually means to you. And have they started their summer time/daylight saving yet? It can all get very confusing, and leads to meetings being scheduled at times that are either late in the evening, or very, very early in the morning.

What is handy is to have something that is “in your face” that shows the current time of that other location. You can have clocks on the wall, but if these are analogue, then there is still the question – “is it morning, or evening there?” A better idea is having digital clocks that use the 24 hour style for reporting time (this is used a lot in Europe – 06:00 is different from 18:00). But then, if you aren’t used to the 24hr style, even that can be confusing.

There are a number of other ways that this can be done. The main point is:  Have something that is visible at a glance. Something that constantly reminds of the difference in the times of you and the other people in your global team. So you don’t even have to stop and think….”now what time was it there?”

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

    1. Stuart Pegg 06/08/2011
      • markjowen 06/08/2011

    Add Your Comment