“So I message a millennial blogger I am working with. I ask her what her Skype is so we can chat and which time zone she is in. She says,’Hey I am in Cali, I have never heard of Tel Aviv and no idea where it is, so just call me at this time, my time.’ ” (Facebook post by Keren Brown)
With guests, customers and colleagues around the world, this answer is no longer acceptable. Yes, it can be challenging sometimes to coordinate meetings and communication with people on the other side of the globe but with a bit of geography and organization, you easily can get a hold of it.
What is a time zone? A time zone is a region where the same standard local time is used.
The local time within a time zone is the difference, the time offset, from the world’s time standard Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This offset is displayed as UTC- or UTC+ plus the number of hours and minutes.
Matters get a little complicated when we have to calculate in the Daylight Savings Time (DST) which is not applied at the same time (or not at all) in the various time zones.
The local time zone names are linked to a geographic landmark of the particular country or region and can be different in various regions of the same time zone. With that, different regions with the same UTC offset can have different names, such as Miami, Florida which is in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Havana, Cuba, which is also UTC-5, with its local Cuba Standard Time (CST).
To make it more confusing, there are various identical abbreviations, such as IST – India Standard Time (UTC+5:30) vs. IST – Israel Standard Time (UTC+2).
There are also 25 military time zones, they are named after the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…), they are used in aviation, at sea, and in communication.
There are various websites that help you get a hold of this complex topic.
My favorite website is www.timeanddate.com, it has all you need to completely understand this system (I refrain from saying “understanding time”, that would be a different post, if you like) coordinate time differences for meetings and have fun with them.