If you work on a remote team, there’s a good chance you’ve struggled with managing time zones.
With coworkers spread all over the world, it can be hard to keep track of what time it is where your colleagues are. Even if you’re not working remote, its easier than ever to end up doing business with someone in a different time zone.
As our world becomes more connected, our differences in time zones become even more important to manage and understand. Here at iDoneThis, we’re a small team and lucky enough to have all our U.S.-based workers in Eastern Standard Time. But our European colleagues are six hours ahead of us. It’s why asynchronous communication is so important. Because their work day is finishing up just as ours is getting started. That means there’s a short window of time for us to talk synchronously if we need to. And sometimes, you need to talk in person.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite tools for managing time zone differences.
Who said tracking time zones can’t be beautiful? Every Time Zone makes it easy to visualize what time it is in, like the name says, every time zone in the world. And the clever slider tool lets you see how a time in one place corresponds to everywhere else. Vary handy if you have two or more time zones to coordinate.
Let’s get down to business. What’s the biggest reason for needing all these time zone tools?Scheduling meetings. The number one reason you’re keeping tabs on time zones in the first place is so you can schedule meetings, calls and other appointments with people in other parts of the world. The World Clock Meeting Planner from Timeanddate.com lets users plug in their city and a day, the tool spits out different times that might work in the meetings and color-codes them into working hours, non-working hours and sleep hours.
Exactly what it says, noting more. This simple tool tells you what time it is in whatever city you type in. Try it for those odd destinations when you’re not sure what time it is in a certain part of the world.
World Time Buddy bill itself as a “a cross between a time zone converter, a world clock converter, and an online meeting scheduler.” Plug in several locations in the tool and they’ll load up next time you visit the site. A color-coding system helps you see where business hours overlay in each time zone.
Time zone management meets beautiful design. Time.is displays official atomic clock time for any time zone along with a set of bright and useful graphics. The tool also tells you if your computer’s clock is off of the official time and by how much.
If you have an iPhone, and want to keep things simple, just preload some locations into the world clock tool in iOS. The system comes preloaded with Cupertino time, but you can easily add your time and whatever other time zones you might need to track.
24 Time Zones provides a colorful interactive map of the world. You can easily see where it’s currently daytime and nighttime. And you also can click on different cities on to see times in other locations.
One of the best things you can do when managing time zones is learn what the common abbreviations are. Or at least know how to look them up. This site lists all of the time zone abbreviations and where they are. You too can know the difference between Irish Standard Time and Irkutsk Summer Time.
Have some developer chops? Dan Farrelly, an engineer at Buffer, built Timezone.io, a tool to measure time zones on a remote team and published the code on Github, along with instructions on how to plug your team’s info into the tool.
If you’re using Google to manage your calendar, here’s a time zone trick. From your main calendar page, hit the s key to enter settings and you’ll see an option to set your time zone along with an additional time zone. You can add any time zone you need there. So now your calendar will show the time of the day along with the corresponding times for a second time zone. Very helpful if your regularly collaborating with someone in a different zone. Would be great for teams with offices in New York and Los Angeles, for example.
A beautiful iOS app that converts time zones helps you find the best time to schedule a meeting across different time zones. Includes an interactive world map and the ability to schedule meetings from the app and share via email.
If you’re using a program like TextExpander, try writing a snippet that spits out the times in multiple zones once you type out a time. Here’s a handy blog post explaining how to do it.
Want to really know the nitty gritty on time zones? Check out this great interactive presentation from BBC News.
Put it in your email and social media signatures
We probably all would be shocked to learn the true number of “by the way what time zone are you in” emails that are sent every day. Try putting your time zone in the signature of your emails and the bio section of your social media profiles. That’s one more useless email you won’t have to deal with ever again.
Just get everyone on UTC
Some teams have avoided the time zone drama altogether by simply getting everyone on 24 hour UTC/GMT time. It’s an admirable endeavor, but will definitely take some getting used to. But, like any of these tools, you can make it a helpful part of your regular workflow.
Just give it time.
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The post 15 Beautiful Tools For Managing Time Zone Differences appeared first on iDoneThis Blog.