Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Matter of Time

I recently mentioned remarked that I was evolving into that mobile worker pundits keeping talking about. You know, the one to whom location doesn't matter because they can actually work anywhere. That observation led to a nerve-wrecking adventure where I was stuck in the middle of farmland in the Free State( which I don't regret and will be followed by another adventure in due course.)

This past week something else occured to me: time is a very important factor for a mobile worker. Or rather time-zones, if you are a mobile worker working with global clients/associates/audience.

See, I was trying to arrange an interview with representatives of an IT company for an article for BizTech Africa. The company's PR rep is based in SA, so I saw nothing amiss in suggesting 14h00 as the time of the interview. Problem was, the executives I needed to interview are based in Singapore and it would be 20h00 there when it's 14h00 there.  Doable, but highly inconvenient for my sources, and it's never a good thing to needlessly inconvenience your sources. Makes them cranky, and like every human being, they could respond by being less chatty/helpful.

And that was not my first time-related blunder this month. When I was working on another IT-related feature article the previous week, all my five interview sources were based in the US. For some reason, I assumed that they were all located within the same area/time zone, except for the guy who was en route to Berlin. So I gave them the same deadline. Turns out that there was one guy, who went through the interview questions at the last minute (which made him late) but when his agency told me their time zone, I realised to my horror  that he was going to be EXTREMELY late.

Oy! That problem could have been prevented, if I'd double checked their cities' or regional time zone.

So from now onward, the time-zone converter is my new best friend. OK. Maybe  that's a stretch. But it will be a tool I use daily.

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