Though we have been continuously relying on virtual meetings and conferences to connect this pandemic, it doesn’t come without difficulties. The biggest problem most of us are and will continue to experience is scheduling meetings across time zones. There are already four time zones in the US alone. What more if you’re supposed to have a meeting with remote employees or clients on the other side of the world?
Here are a few tips for scheduling meetings that cross time zones:
Leverage online scheduling tools
A great practice when scheduling meetings across time zones is to leverage scheduling tools. There are several scheduling tools on the internet that can convert time zones and let you schedule meetings with ease.
World Time Buddy, for example, lets you compare time zones easily, then schedule meetings in Outlook, iCal, or Google. World Clock Meeting Planner, on the other hand, lets you plan meetings by consulting several locations and their time zones. There’s also Doodle, which allows you to take a look at the schedules of the participants and schedule a meeting on an available date and time.
Use cloud-based calendars or apps
Referring to and using cloud-based calendars or apps can be very convenient. Cloud-based calendars like Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook are some of the most well-known among businesses and teams. Most of the time, these apps automatically adjust your meetings to your timezone, even when sent by a colleague or contact from a different timezone. Once you share your calendar with others and they share theirs, you’ll be able to see each other’s calendars and check everyone else’s availability for a more organized meeting.
There are also apps that function as a calendar and scheduling software. One example is Calendly, an automated scheduling software with features such as the ability to schedule buffer time between meetings, time zone detection, and more.
Use your conferencing service
Your video conferencing service should also have convenient conference scheduling solutions that will help you schedule meetings that cross time zones. Having this kind of feature is also quite helpful as you don’t have to consult multiple websites or tools anymore. Virtual conferencing can be a lot smoother with a feature like this, and as a result, your video meetings are much more productive. Utilize this feature from your conferencing service for a one-stop process.
Go for 2 PM Eastern
Ever wondered what the best time is to schedule a meeting across all time zones in the US? When in doubt, or if you do not have any access to such tools that will help you convert or schedule meetings, go for 2 PM Eastern time. 2 PM Eastern time is perfect as it converts to a manageable time across all time zones in the US. Setting up a meeting at 2 PM Eastern is 11 AM on Pacific time, 12 PM on Mountain time, and 1 PM on Central time. This hour is the perfect window to have a meeting with your team scattered throughout the country.
And to be safe, record the meeting
There will be instances where schedules just won’t align and you won’t be able to find an available time for meetings. This is particularly common with international meetings, those that include team members or clients all over the globe. For this reason, you can always choose to record the meeting. Recording your session will allow for easy distribution among non-attendees and can be a great source of reference for the next meeting or decision-making process.
With the right tools, proper consideration, and these tips on your mind, you’ll have no trouble scheduling meetings across time zones in the future.