I currently live in the Eastern time zone but am used to traveling across time zones quite regularly. Technology automatically updates my phone and other devices, so there has never been any confusion or missed starts. Now that I am working from home so often with businesses in other time zones, things can get fuzzy. Is it 9:45 or 10:45? Are we returning from lunch at 1:00, 2:00 or 3:00? How much time do I have left in the session?
If you are feeling fuzzy too, here are three simple tips for zooming across time zones.
1. Obtain a small digital clock (travel size works well) and place it on your desk. Set the time zone for wherever the company is located. If all participants are in that time zone, use it as your main clock, and avoid looking at your watch or devices.
2. If participants are attending from a variety of time zones, use phrases such as “we will return from lunch at the top of the hour” or “let’s come back from break at quarter after” rather than mentioning a specific hour.
3. Use a timer app on your computer and share this screen at breaks, showing the time counting down until everyone should return. For Mac users, try an app called TimerByTen. Some platforms include an embedded timer tool, and there are several free online timers.
I was grateful to get Tip #1 from Frank, a colleague with a gift for practical solutions. If you have a practical solution for facilitation and training in the virtual world, please share!
I have two openings left for sessions on Caffeinated Virtual Training Design between now and the new year. Contact me today to discuss how to boost your virtual engagement and keep participants wide awake and learning!
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Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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