It goes without saying that technology has truly revolutionized the way that we work and collaborate with one another. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to work with people in different states or even entirely different countries. While it still seems incredible that that’s even possible, it does present its own unique set of challenges. The biggest of these is working across different time zones. Even for experienced tele-workers, navigating time zone differences can be a challenge.
Luckily, there are a number of tools available to help you tackle this problem and keep your team running smoothly. To help you get started, we’ve put together this list of the best time zone converters, both for mobile and desktop devices, as well as some tips to make dealing with time zone differences a bit easier. Let’s dive right in!
Ok, Woven isn’t technically a time converter, but what would the best scheduling tool be without one? Woven automatically detects the time zone you’re located in, but it also remembers your home time zone to make scheduling while you’re on the move a breeze. It will also convert the time zone of any new events, including external ones you’ve been invited to, so that you don’t accidentally agree to an “8am call” when you’re a few hours behind. Instead, we show the event at the time it will be in your location, with the invitee’s original time listed as secondary for your reference.
So while we may not be a time zone converter, Woven’s doing our best to help solve the problem. Now onto the list.
Since many workplaces use different programs and browsers, we’ll run through some time zone converters for a number of popular browsers and operating systems. If your workplace uses Google Chrome, Savvy Time is an excellent option. This program allows you to save a number of different cities to your dashboard, making it easy for you to scroll through many time zones at once. If you have coworkers in more than one or two time zones, this tool will make it much easier for you to keep track of what time it is and where. And since it’s a Chrome extension, Savvy makes it extremely easy to check it in your browser without opening another program.
After Chrome, Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers, so if it’s your company’s default browser, FoxClocks is worth checking out. It works in much the same way that Savvy Time does. Pick the cities you want to keep track of, and FoxClocks will add them to your browser’s status bar. This makes it extremely easy to quickly check the time in another city or country. FoxClocks is also highly customizable; there are quite a few preset time zones that you can choose from to load automatically, but if you need a more specific set of time zones, you can build your own custom format from scratch. The plugin is also available in English, French, and German, so if you have an international or multilingual team, FoxClocks could be an excellent choice.
But if you or your team primarily uses Mac computers, never fear; there is no shortage of time zone converters that you can choose from. Time Zone Converter and Clock is one of the most fleshed-out programs available, so it’s definitely worth a look. Like FoxClocks and Savvy Time, this program allows you to save as many cities and time zones as you want. You can also customize your time setting, offering both 12 and 24 hour clocks. Unlike the other options, this program features a “time range indicator” that will let you know if it’s business time, overtime, or personal time in a given time zone. It’s one thing to know what time it is in a certain city, but sometimes it’s easy to forget when the work day ends there- this will help solve that problem. It isn’t a free program (it costs $5) but the features it offers certainly justifies the price.
But since many of us use Windows in our workplaces, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on a time zone converter app for that operating system. This World Clock program is really an all in one clock; it can calculate daylight savings time changes, monitor sunrise and sunset times at any of its 5000 locations, as well as switch between 12 and 24 hour clocks. Although it isn’t the best program available for monitoring multiple time zones at once, it’s extremely easy to quickly key in a location and check on the time there. In fact, its user interface might be its biggest selling point; the app simply looks good, on both the desktop and tablet version. So if your time zone converter needs aren’t very intense or wide ranging, the Time And Date World Clock is a great option, especially if your workplace requires you to quickly switch back and forth between desktop computers and tablets.
So far we’ve looked at either browser extensions or standalone apps for time zone conversion; but if you either have download restrictions on work computers or simply find it easier to manage different times within your browser window, there are a number of browser-only options that you can access without a download. Let’s take a look at a couple of the best options!
Sure, the interface might be a little overwhelming (not to mention a little retro) but if you need to quickly check the time in another city or country, this is a great way to do so without going to a separate extension. The world map displays a comprehensive time zone grid as well as the times in many countries and cities. But, if for whatever reason, the city you are looking for isn’t immediately visible on the map, the site features a search function that will allow you to find the specific city you are looking for. So don’t let the dated interface put you off- this is a powerful and easy to use site that is great for quick time zone checks.
With a similar world map design, EasyTZ is perfect if you are like me and prefer a slightly more visual time zone manager. It offers all the same functions as World Time Zone, such as a more general map divided by time zones for quick checks, as well as a city search function that you can use if you need to know what time it is in an exact location. It’s particularly designed for scheduling conference calls, so it features a built in calendar that lets you figure out what time a meeting will be at for multiple time zones; so if you manage an international team, with members in multiple countries- or even a domestic team that’s spread out across the country- EasyTZ could go a long way towards making sure everybody is on the same page. After all, there’s nothing more irritating than a scheduling mix-up derailing a meeting.
Having a fully fleshed out, multi-function time zone converter is nice, and is definitely useful if you have an extensive, international project to coordinate. But sometimes, that kind of depth is unnecessary. Sometimes, all you need to know is what time it is five states over. If that is the case, TheTimeNow is a great option. This site is as simple as it gets: all you need to do is select two cities and click “convert,” to see what time it is in each place. Easy, right? If you have a number of time zones that you need to keep track of or monitor consistently, TheTimeNow might not be the best option. But as far as bare bones programs go, it’s one of the best time zone converters available, if only for its ease of use and simplicity.
We’ve talked about desktop and browser applications. And while those programs are certainly useful in an office setting, there might be situations when it’s easier to check time zones on your smartphone rather than going into a dedicated program on your computer. Let’s check out some of the best time zone converters for smartphones!
The great thing about smartphones is their convenience- you don’t have to stop what you’re doing on your computer, you can just check on your phone. Of course, that ease can easily lead to distractions if you’re not careful (I know that as well as anybody!), but when it comes to time zone converters, it’s a real selling point. Klok is an app and widget widget for iPhones that lets you save the time for multiple cities into a dashboard that you can access by simply swiping down. Your phone doesn’t even need to be unlocked! If you need to quickly check the time in another city while you’re on the go, this is a perfect option.
Of course, not everybody uses an iPhone; in fact, many people don’t, so it’s important to give Android users a sense of the time zone converters available to them. This app is just as powerful as some of the desktop programs and sites I mentioned earlier. This app enables you to keep track of multiple time zones at the same time, convert one time zone to another, or manage your calendar. So while it’s not as sleek or aesthetically appealing as Klok or some other apps, its functionality is hard to beat. For all the Android users out there who need a fleshed out time zone converter, this could be your best bet.
Tips for working across multiple time zones
If you are not used to working with people in more than one time zone, it might be helpful to go over some tips and strategies that will make the process easier. I know that when I first worked on a project with people across time zones, it took a lot of getting used to.
As with most issues when it comes to working remotely- or otherwise separately from your coworkers- the most important thing to remember is communication is key (surprise surprise!). In situations like this, it’s even more crucial that you and your team are able to communicate effectively. That’s what makes a reliable time zone converter so important. After all, how can you expect to communicate with coworkers either overseas or across the country when neither of you know what time it is where the other is? Consistent communication, which is key to actually getting things done, starts with awareness of your coworkers’ situations and circumstances.
Similarly, working with people in multiple time zones requires you to be more patient than you are normally used to. Even though a good time zone conversion system can bring you close to the kind instantaneous communication you would have in a single time zone, it’s never perfect. There will always be little delays and hiccups along the way, especially when you are just getting in the groove of the new workflow. It’s important that you stick out these first few roadblocks; once you are accustomed to the new process (and have figured out the time zone management program that works best for you) the process will go much more smoothly. It’s just a matter of staying patient until that time comes.
One of the hardest things about finding a good time zone converter (like most computer programs) is that there are simply too many options out there. There’s almost countless different variations on the “world clock” idea- some of which I talked about here- that it can sometimes be difficult to tell which one is right for your circumstances. Hopefully this list has helped to point you in the right direction, but to be honest, the vast majority of time zone converters are interchangeable. I don’t mean that there aren’t certain apps or sites that are better than others, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that most of them do the same thing. Some may look a little better, some may offer more in depth scheduling features, some may feature a visual element, but for the most part, as long as you can figure out what time it is around the world, you’ll be covered. Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect time zone converter. Just find the one that works best for you and your team and you’ll be good to go.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
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