March 2, 2018

Changing Clocks: How It Impacts Life in the US and with International, Virtual Teams

On the second Sunday of March at 2am, most parts of the continental U.S. ‘spring forward.’ This means that digital clocks automatically change from 1:59am to 3am. Those with manual clocks (microwave and car clocks, for instance), must change them by hand. The video below shows the clock automatically changing from 1:59am to 3am. This starts the period called ‘Daylight Saving Time’ (DST).


How long is Daylight Saving Time Observed?
Daylight Saving Time starts the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday of November, lasting for “34 weeks (238 days) every year, about 65% of the entire year.” [source: Wikipedia] 

Do all parts of the US reset their clocks? 
According to Wikipedia, no. “Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona (except for the Navajo, who do observe daylight saving time on tribal lands), Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.” 

It is said that one reason for shifting the time was to shift daylight hours to either have daylight longer into the evening (in March, the day before the clocks are changed, sunset will be at 6:29pm, however after moving the time ahead by one hour, the sunset will be at 7:30pm the next day.) Because of the high year round temperatures in Arizona, extending the daylight extends hotter temperatures. If the sunsets ‘earlier,’ it cools off sooner, and therefore, saves energy by not using as much air conditioning. Read more here. 

Do People Lose Sleep or Get More Sleep During Spring Forward? 
For those who do change clocks, many find it hard to wake up on time as the new 'on time' feels different. Why? Even though the physical clock has changed, the 'body clock' has not. Some people end up “sleeping in” or “oversleeping” as 6am is 7am after spring forward. So, sometimes people are sleepy or run late a day or two after spring forward.

Why does India not change clocks? 
India does not observe Daylight Saving Time. It is said that places closer to the equator with more or less similar sunrise and sunset times throughout the year do not have a ‘need’ to change their clocks. Due to this, those in India working with others in countries that do change their time will notice their foreign counterparts are meeting you at what ‘seems to be the same time’ where as your time in India ‘changes’. 

How do meeting times change with the changing of the clocks? 
So for example, the week before ‘spring forward’ you may meet your US colleague at 6:30pm IST, it would be 6am for someone in MST. If you meet that same person at 6:30pm IST after spring forward it would be 7am MST for your colleague. If the US counterpart continues to want to meet you at the same time (6am MST), then you could actually meet them earlier at 5:30pm IST. Teams I have worked with in India actually couldn’t wait until spring forward if they worked with teams in the US that did not change their meeting time as then they could finish work earlier!

Let's see the four continental U.S. time zones and how they compare with Indian Standard Time before and after the Spring Forward in March. 


A visual representation of where the four US continental time zones are.

Meeting Time Matrix Before and After ‘Spring Forward’ 

Time in India Changes/U.S. Time “Stays the Same”:
Meeting time in IST before spring forward: 6:30pm IST
Meeting time with US colleagues: EST 8am: , CST: 7am, MST: 6am, PST: 5am

Meeting time IST after spring forward: 5:30pm IST
Meeting time with US colleagues: EST 8am: , CST: 7am, MST: 6am, PST: 5am

Time difference between IST/EST before Spring Forward: 10 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/CST before Spring Forward: 11 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/MST before Spring Forward: 12 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/PST before Spring Forward: 13 hr, 30 min

Time in U.S. Changes/ India Time “Stays the Same”:
Meeting time IST before spring forward: 6:30pm IST
Meeting time with US colleagues: EST 8am: , CST: 7am, MST: 6am, PST: 5am

Meeting time IST after spring forward: 6:30pm IST
Meeting time with US colleagues: EST 9am: , CST: 8am, MST: 7am, PST: 6am

Time difference between IST/EST (EDT) before Spring Forward: 19 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/CST (CDT) before Spring Forward: 10 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/MST (MDT) before Spring Forward: 11 hr, 30 min
Time difference between IST/PST (PDT) before Spring Forward: 12 hr, 30 min

Expansion of Time Zone Abbreviations Used Above
EST: Eastern Standard Time / EDT: Eastern Daylight Time
CST: Central Standard Time / CST: Central Daylight Time
MST: Mountain Standard Time / MST: Mountain Daylight Time*
PST: Pacific Standard Time / PST: Pacific Daylight Time**

IST: Indian Standard Time***

*Note in some time converting programs CST can also be expanded to China Standard Time or Cuba Standard Time.
**PST also can be Pitcairn Standard Time.
***IST can also stand for Irish Standard Time or Israel Standard Time

Is there an app I can use to confirm meeting times across time zones?
Savvy Time World Clock has a handy app to use to change the time and date to confirm your meeting times. The Chrome extension only allows you to compare time on the same day (see the image to the right), but their website allows you to compare time zones by date.

What apps do you use to set your global meeting times? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Author, Jennifer Kumar, helps your teams work more efficiently over global borders and multiple time zones. Contact us here

Related Posts: 
Video Tutorials Explaining Daylight Saving Time 
History Behind Daylight Saving Time 
What if I Forget to Set My Clock to The New Time? 

Note: There are no paid product placements in this ad. A recommendation of any service is based on personal use, not on paid advertisements.

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We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.