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Time Zones

Depending on the country and location, time differences can affect service in mild to extreme ways. Time zones in India and the eastern U.S. can differ by more than nine hours, while the time in Brazil or Mexico may differ by as little as an hour from that of the U.S. caller. It becomes challenging to hold real-time meetings when large time differences exist. Finding times that work for both sides can be difficult, especially if you need more than one or two people from both sides in the meeting. A 9 a.m. meeting in New York is a 6 p.m. meeting in Bombay. In NY, they're just starting their day and haven't necessarily had time to begin business. In Bombay, it's the end of the day.

What can you do to accommodate time zone differences?

  • Schedule meetings as far ahead as possible.

  • Set up a "hotline" that lets you get in touch with your offshore provider, call center, etc. during your working hours, in case serious issues arise. Of course, the service provider will operate the service center during the hours that you request, even if it's the middle of the night for them. The difficulty comes from meeting with management for planning and status reviews.

  • Other methods for dealing with time differences might include online message boards, web sites for posting reports and results, email, and voice mail. One good thing about time differences is that if you ask a question through email before leaving work, you may receive your answer by the time you arrive in the morning.

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