Recently there was some communication snafu of some kind at work. No damage was done but it highlighed the point that people don’t always take into account that we work on a global team. You can’t just say something happened today at 6. What day? 6AM or PM? What time zone are we talking about? Those are all the questions that come to mind when you make a generic statement like that. After that my boss suggested people set their computer clocks to UTC. If you don’t know UTC is basically the renamed version of GMT. Almost everyone dealing with global locations from the military to most major corporations keep time in UTC. Otherwise scheduling is a nightmare. Servers, and other devices are already keeping time in UTC, so my bosses suggestion was that we set our local computers time to UTC. He offered a way you could setup outlook to display two time zones as well so you could see your calendar in local time as well as keep UTC time. Both were good ideas. When I used Outlook on Windows I actually did use the two time zone option but apparently that isn’t available on the Mac version of Outlook.
I thought setting your computer clock to UTC was a good idea but would cause other issues when trying to keep time out of work. The idea did remind me that I had a clock app that i could run and keep in my menu bar that would list out multiple time zones. Not quite the same thing but it is very useful. What I ended up doing instead was set my watch to UTC. I forgot that I had the option to have two time zones on my watch. The dial hands can display normal local time and I can have the digital display show UTC time. That minor realization has already paid off a lot when coordinating calls this week durring the big storm.
I have apps on my iPhone and iPad that also help me with world clock calculations. I do use them often, but instead of having to do the time zone math, thinking in UTC is a big help. I have written a bit in the past about keeping time in a global team. I am writing again because of this minor adjustment to using UTC on my watch had a pretty big impact and I am always amazed at something so simple as keeping time actually can be very difficult sometimes.
UTC on my watch
Work using UTC for everything
Scheduling meeting and events accross time zones