How DST Impacts Indian Offshore Teams

Posted On: March 8, 2015

If you work onsite in the US or an American working with Indians, this post will give a glimpse into how those in the subcontinent handle the time change. 

What do Indians Think of DST? 
Daylight Saving Time is not observed in India. Due to this, there is some confusion with Indians new to global team members observing DST or Standard Time how it works and how it impacts everyone’s schedule. 
Is Daylight Saving Time observed in India? 
No. That is why many Indians find DST confusing. In fact, in a training in India when we were discussing DST, one Indian IT professional said until he went to the US he always thought “time change” meant that people shifted their schedules ahead or back one hour, but not the clocks! Some Indians may think this happens because as we will see shift and meeting times do physically change for offshore teams in India. 

If this were true, American news would not be reporting on sleep deprivation at this time of the year as the clocks would stay the same. But, because clocks are physically changed, one hour is lost on the first Sunday of March, and at the beginning of daylight saving time. 

What are the shifts for Indians in DST vs Standard Time?
From talking to IT professionals that specifically work alongside the normal U.S. business hours, most prefer Daylight Saving Time as the shift starts and ends earlier. I feel that many that work with Americans that do not work along with the the normal U.S. business hours may also prefer the DST time because the phone calls with onsite or onshore would start and end earlier in the evening. 

Effect of Daylight Time Change in India
Standard Time – November 1st Sunday – March 2nd Sunday (9am EST- 5pm EST)
Shift Time: 7:30pm IST – 3:30am IST

Daylight Saving Time – March 2nd Sunday to November 1st Sunday (9am EST- 5pm EST)
Shift Time: 6:30 pm- 2:30 am

How do Indian Meeting Times Change with Spring Forward?   
Keeping in mind that the U.S. clocks have “sprung forward” by one hour, all meetings regularly scheduled through the U.S. counterparts will be moved ahead by one hour as per Indian clocks. (Those highlighted in bold text represent the new times between March – November.)  

US Time Zone Map

Example: EST (Eastern Time Zone) to IST (Indian Standard Time)

Example Cities: New York, Baltimore, Jersey City, Lexington, Miami 

Time Period U.S. Time (EST)  India Time    Time Difference   
Standard Time 9am 7:30pm +10.5 hours
Daylight Savings Time    9am 6:30pm +9.5 hours

*Take note, some parts of Indiana do not change their time.

Example: CST (Central Time Zone) to IST (Indian Standard Time)
Example Cities: Chicago, Bentonville, Madison, Memphis, Oklahoma City, 

Time Period U.S. Time (CST)  India Time    Time Difference   
Standard Time 9am 8:30pm +11.5 hours
Daylight Savings Time    9am 7:30pm +10.5 hours


End of DST in the CST Time Zone, Bentonville, AR

Example: MST (Mountain Time Zone) to IST (Indian Standard Time)
Example Cities: Boulder, Omaha. Salt Lake City, Phoenix*

Time Period U.S. Time (MST)  India Time    Time Difference   
Standard Time 9am 9:30pm +12.5 hours
Daylight Savings Time    9am 8:30pm +11.5 hours

*The entire state of Arizona does not change clocks for daylight savings time.

See the clocks jump forward one hour in MST. Where did that hour go?

Example: PST (Pacific Time Zone) to IST (Indian Standard Time)
Example Cities: Beaverton, San Francisco, Redmond, Silicon Valley 

Time Period U.S. Time (PST)  India Time    Time Difference   
Standard Time 9am 10:30pm +13.5 hours
Daylight Savings Time    9am 9:30pm +12.5 hours

What Can the US Onshore Team Do to Help?

Here are some ideas to make the time change easier for global, virtual teams: 

  • Although DST schedules are more manageable, the US counterpart or team could start work earlier so that the Indian team can finish even earlier! 
  • India and US teams can toggle meeting times, having the status meeting a little earlier one week, a little later the next to balance it out for both side. 

Double checking the time difference during DST change?

  • Use your computer
    Set two (or more clocks) on your computer tuned to the times of the locations where the meetings are taking place.
    I often use this website to find suitable meeting times for my international clients.
  • Use Google
    Type “Time in (City Name)” into Google Search to find the current time. For example, here is the search for “Time in New York.”
  • Computer Calendar Set the time zones in your e-mail program appropriately. Especially when the US side sets the meeting and sends you a reminder, it should come to your inbox or be listed on your calendar in your local time. 

Share any of your tips on coordinating meetings or phone calls with Americans when the time changes in the comment section below.

Jennifer Kumar mentors your South Asian based software development experts and others in the IT industry to work more effectively from offshore and as an international assignee onshore. For those Multinational Companies (MNCs) looking for cultural training for their India-based colleagues interacting with their US counterparts via phone or email, contact Jennifer for more information. Jennifer is an American based in India providing cross-cultural training at competitive rates for in-person and virtual delivery.

Related Posts:

What is Daylight Savings Time?  
Managing Time in India – Business Meetings & Corporate Trainings 
Avoiding Long Status Review Meetings 



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