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Schedule meeting between multiple time zones

I have to schedule on-line conference call between multiple locations in different countries.

Given DST and the different time zones, how can I get the ideal time for everyone, so that it is not after 10:00pm or before 6:00am for anyone?

Outlook only offers support to show 1 additional time-zone next to your own, which makes efficiently scheduling a meeting between locations in 3 or more different time zones quite complicated.

Example meeting

For instance, how would you plan a meeting between the following locations?

  • San Francisco
  • Houston
  • London
  • Amsterdam

Methodical method

If you like to go methodical (and enjoy doing calculations with time zones…), you could solve it in the following way;

  • As San Francisco and Amsterdam are the farthest apart, check which times are available to you.
  • Compare if the resulting time span matches with day time in Houston. Cross out the hours which don’t match.
  • From the hours that are still available then, compare it with London.

It’s painfully slow and cumbersome (understatement!), but it is solvable in Outlook this way by changing the additional time zone to compare available times.

Note: Don’t try this in a week view or on a day where DST changes is taking place; the time scale of Outlook doesn’t compensate for that!

Easier method with World Clock Meeting Planner

Whenever there are 3 or more time-zones involved, I prefer to use the World Clock Meeting Planner website.

Here you can fill out a form containing the day which you’d like to meet and the cities involved (or nearby).

The result to you is presented in a color coded table so you can now more easily see which time slots are available for a meeting at a respectable time for everyone.

If you also have access to their calendars, you can then use Outlook’s scheduling feature to see if they are truly available at that time.

World Clock Meeting Planner gives you a color coded overview of suitable times for an on-line meeting. In this case, 8am for San Francisco seems the best pick.
World Clock Meeting Planner gives you a color coded overview of suitable times for an on-line meeting. In this case, 8am for San Francisco seems the best pick for all.

Windows 8 World Clock App

The makers of the aforementioned World Clock Meeting Planner website also offer a great (and free!) time zone App for Windows 8 called World Clock – Time Zones.

Aside from showing the current time for a configured city and various other information, you can select your pre-configured time zones and press the “Create Meeting” button at the bottom of the App and be directly taken to the above website with the selected cities already configured for you.