This article was updated on March 15, 2021.
There is one mistake that almost everyone, including admins, make on a regular basis, but most have no idea they’re even doing something wrong until it’s (literally) too late. Referencing the wrong time zone is something almost everyone does. For most people, using the wrong time zone or misunderstanding Daylight Saving Time (DST) just results in running an hour early or late. However, for admins, the consequences can be a lot more serious.
For us, embarrassment isn’t the only byproduct of inaccurate time listings. The wrong time on a meeting invite can cause people to be too early or late. Sending your executive an incorrect time can lead to a missed meeting and opportunity for your company. And being off by an hour or more on an event listing could lead to lower attendance and revenue for your employer.
As an admin, it’s your responsibility to ensure you, your executive, and those who correspond with him or her have the correct times for meetings and events. To do that, you need to understand Daylight Saving Time, as well as how to list the correct time zones for various locations and times of year. For instance, do you know the difference between EST and EDT? Do you know that Hawaii and most of Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time?
There are 24 regions of the world, and 39 different local times in use. Keeping them straight can be a challenge.
To help you do that, we’ve come up with some resources on DST and time zones you should bookmark and reference any time you need to list multiple time zones.
Time zone converter – http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
Daylight Saving Time around the world – https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/2021.html
The difference between EST and EDT – http://www.timeanddate.com/library/abbreviations/timezones/na/edt.html
Arizona and Daylight Saving Time – https://www.timeanddate.com/time/us/arizona-no-dst.html
History of Daylight Saving Time – http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html
The difference between Daylight Saving and Daylight Savings Time – http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/daylight-savings-time.html
In addition to bookmarking these links, you may also want add additional clocks to your desktop, especially if you frequently schedule meetings across multiple time zones. Here’s how to do that if you’re using Windows:
1. Right Click on the clock or date at the bottom right corner of the computer screen.
2. Click on Adjust Date/Time.
3. Under related settings, click on Add Clocks for Different Time Zones. A dialogue box will appear.
4. Under the Additional Clocks tab, you can select two additional clocks or time zones that you want to show when you click on the time in the bottom right corner of the computer screen.
5. Check the box to show this clock.
6. Choose the time zone you want to display.
7. Enter a display name for that time zone.
8. Click OK to apply and save.
9. When you hover your mouse over the time in the lower right corner of your computer screen (don’t click, just hover), you will see your current time plus the two additional time zones you’ve selected in the preview box like this.
If you click on the time or date, a full window will display to show you the same information.
Using the proper time zones on communications is essential to keeping yourself and your executive on time, and preventing any confusion about meetings and events. Learn about the different time zones and how to list them correctly, or at least know where to go to find the right listing. You need to get it right – even if everyone else is getting it wrong!
Need more help? Check out this Get Your Time Zone Abbreviations Right! infographic!
© 2021 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.