One of the problems with working people in other time zones is that figuring out whether it’s a good time to call them can be tricky; scheduling meetings can become positively nightmarish if you have participants in several time zones. Here are some tools that make things a little easier.
Timeanddate.com has been around for years, and although it has a somwhat clunky, old-fashioned design, it still works very well. It has a world clock that can show the current time in a huge list of cities around the world. It also has a useful meeting planning tool; punch in the cities or time zones of each of the participants and it will display a handy timetable showing the times that might be suitable for everyone.
Every Time Zone
Every Time Zone is a an HTML5-powered web app that shows a series of time zones.It has a vertical line showing the current time in your time zone and in other cities around the world, and, cleverly, a line that you can drag to figure out what times in the future might be suitable for a meeting. It’s a nice, easy-to-use visual tool.
The Time Zone Converter
The Time Zone Converter is a website that does just as its name suggests. It has two clocks; by default the left-hand clock displays local time. You can set the clocks to display the time in a selection of cities around the world. It’s good for getting a quick time zone conversion, but because it doesn’t have a visual display or matrix of times it’s less useful for meeting scheduling.
Google (and some other search engines, too) can tell you what time it is in cities all around the world. While not as useful as the other solutions listed above, if you need to quickly discover what time it is in, say, Delhi, you can type “time Delhi” into the search box. Above the usual search results, Google returns the current time in that city.
Bonus “Old School” Solution
Having several clocks on your wall, set to the time zones of people you work with, can be a good way to get used to time differences. They probably won’t help with scheduling, but they’re useful for making sure you don’t accidentally call someone in the middle of their night. Plus, let’s face it, several clocks on your wall set to different time zone also looks pretty cool. Once I’ve finished redecorating my office, I’ll going to install three clocks set to show the time in London, New York and San Francisco. If you don’t have the space or the budget to have actual clocks on your wall, you can emulate the effect using dashboard widgets in both Windows and OS X.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise