Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Time Zones

How often have your received a meeting request and am not certain of the actual time of the meeting?

I have received emails for meetings and the time is "2 pm -5 GMT" and of course I look at it and have to try and figure out what time. Considering I live in Toronto, that meeting request is for 9 am on the same day as stated in the request. The other problem that happens is when someone in British Columbia asked if you can meet at 2 pm. The first thing I do when I get this request is immediately ask if it is 2 pm Toronto time or 2 pm BC time. It is amazing how many people figure that when they say a time you should automatically understand what time they are talking about.

The meeting requests that can get really interesting is when you are dealing with multiple time zones for the same meeting. It can happen that you are adding time to calculate the time in one area and then subtracting time to figure out the times in other areas. I have had meetings with people in Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver and those meetings are always fun to schedule. The meeting request ends up looking something like this:
Toronto 6 pm
Halifax 7 pm
Edmonton 4 pm
Vancouver 3 pm

I have found that by clearly stating each of the times in the meeting request makes it a little easier for everyone. Of course there can still be mix ups especially when the person scheduling the meeting does a wrong calculation of the times in the other time zones.

It can cause a major problem when the wrong time is started and then everyone sees that one time and that is the one they use for their own area calculation. This means that if the Halifax time was incorrectly started it could result in everyone being an hour off for the meeting. I know this can happen as it has happened to a meeting that I have been part of.

Time zones are always an interesting challenge when scheduling meetings. When you are working with Canada we have 5 time zones and one is only half an hour different. We also have the challenge of figuring out what time it is in Saskatchewan because they don't change their clocks in the spring and fall.

Making sure that you are aware of the other time zones is very important when scheduling meetings or calling other areas of the country. You don't want to call someone in the middle of the night just because you are up and working.

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