How Do I Schedule Meetings Across Different Time Zones?

As a part of a corporate network, you understand the importance of meetings. If your team members or clients are all within your local area, then finding a meeting time that suits everyone’s schedule shouldn’t be too difficult. But if you’re working for a business that often deals with international clients or has offices spread all over the United States, then finding a meeting time that suits everyone’s schedule can quickly become difficult.

To take the pain out of scheduling your next meeting, take a look at some best practices for ensuring all of your participant’s schedules are considered, regardless of their location:

Meetings across the U.S.:
If your team is working remotely across the U.S. or if you have clients spread across the states, you could be working with up to four major time zones: Eastern (EST), Central (CST), Mountain (MST) and Pacific (PST). Instead of spending time memorizing what states are in each time zones, we’ve got an easy solution to making a meeting time work for everyone in each of these time zones.

Typically, 2:00 pm EST is the perfect time for meeting with peers or clients in each of these time zones. This time allows for those working in the most western time zone (PST) to have time to arrive to work and prepare the meeting, while preventing the East Coasters from having to stay too late. Of course, if there is a conflict for someone during this time then give participants options an hour or two before or after the original time suggested.

Meetings across the Globe:
Scheduling meetings internationally is where things start to really get tricky because of the multitude of time zones you could be dealing with. Though there is not really a “perfect” time suggestion we can make for international meetings, there is a great tool you can use to help find a suitable time to meet. World Time Buddy is a website that deems itself as a “cross between a time zone converter, a world clock converter, and an online meeting scheduler.”

The tool, also available as an app, features a time table in which you can add your location and the locations of those you are meeting with, allowing you to see the times that are most appropriate for everyone. Once you have selected the best time, the tool can sync up and create a meeting invite on Outlook, iCalendar and Google Calendar.

There are plenty of scheduling tools out there to take the pain out of arranging those meetings across various time zones. Make scheduling and keeping track of your meetings easier with PGi’s Agenday® app, available for free on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon app store.

Want to learn more about scheduling meetings? Check out The Best and Worst Times for Meetings.

How Do I Schedule a Meeting with Outside Participants?

Meetings are a part of your everyday life if you’re working in a corporate setting, and with new online meeting tools, it’s easier than ever to meet with anyone, at anytime, anywhere. But one constant inconvenience with meetings is scheduling. If you’re working with several employees or external participants that are spread across various time zones, things can get a little tricky when trying to appease everyone’s schedules.

There are, however, plenty of scheduling tools available to help ease the pain of coordinating meetings with multiple participants. Microsoft Outlook®, for example, has a feature called Scheduling Assistant in which you can view meeting participants’ calendars to make sure there’s no scheduling conflicts. The major flaws in Outlook’s application lies in that it’s only useful internally and is not mobile friendly.

For those looking to schedule meetings with outside participants, consider using a scheduling app. These applications use a simple polling system to find the best option for meeting times between participants.  It’s important to note that most of these scheduling-only applications, like Doodle, are only available on web browsers and may end up costing you in subscription fees.

While these scheduling tools are great in theory, for anyone who constantly relies on their mobile devices to conduct business, having an app that is accessible on any device and works with any email service is the most ideal. That’s where smart calendar apps come into play, with features such as Free/Busy Polling.

Free/Busy Polling is a feature similar to the scheduling applications mentioned above, but the real difference is that you can control all aspects of scheduling meetings—both for internal and external purposes—right inside the app.

This feature is a smarter way to take on the task of scheduling meetings. Instead of getting buried in endless back-and-forth email chains, guests can select the times that work best for them in an easy-to-use web interface, or directly within the app itself. Once the participants respond with their preferences, majority of the work is done, and you can easily determine the best meeting time for all respondents.

If you’re ready to learn more about the Free/Busy Polling feature, download PGi’s Agenday smart calendar for free in iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Apps.

What Are the Benefits of a Smart Calendar App?

Are you using the best calendar app to manage your time, or are you simply using one that’s already been chosen for you? While most mobile devices come preloaded with a native calendar app, these calendars limit your efficiency in comparison to what smart calendar apps can do.

Smart calendar apps are more robust than your native calendar in terms of aggregation, actionable items, communication and integration. Consider it an upgrade.

Because of their robust features, you could say even the function of smart calendar apps differs from your native one: one is a way to look ahead at your day (like checking the time on a watch); the other is a way to increase your productivity during the day.

Stuck in your native app? Here are some of the benefits of a smart calendar app you’re missing out on:

  • Time-saving features. Enhanced aggregation pulls all of your schedules into a single interface (no more checking multiple locations) and gives you control over which calendars you aggregate. Plus, all the details from your meeting invites — location, passcodes, contacts — sync up and create actionable items right from your calendar.
  • Streamlined actions. You can pull up turn-by-turn directions, connect to online meetings with one touch (and error-free) and contact meeting attendees from your calendar. You can text, email or call them if you’re late with a tap of a button, or use a message template to save even more time. Some apps also offer integration with other applications you use for work, like Salesforce. Stop manually managing the details and shift your workday into automatic.
  • Smarter design. When you’re looking at your schedule on the go, you probably don’t want to see your entire week. You need a swipeable, simple interface that helps you focus on the present. Many smart calendar apps display your schedule as a day-by-day, task-style list that’s easier to see on a smaller screen. Some even let you swipe agenda items from a locked screen, too, creating a more convenient way to stay on track on the go.
  • Relevant insights. Everything you need for a meeting may not be in that invite, though. Whatever’s missing, a smart calendar app can provide by showing you relevant information to build more context around your schedule. Traveling for a meeting? Check the weather from the app. Meeting with a new client? See their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles right in the app.

You’ll find a lot of calendar apps out there to choose from, but if you’re searching for that extra 60 minutes in your workday, start with one specifically tailored for business users.

Take control of your workday with Agenday by PGi. It’s available to download now for free on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Apps.

What is a Smart Calendar App?

In order to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce, mobile applications designed to empower productivity are among the most popular on any mobile app store. In recent years, smart calendar apps such as PGi’s  Agenday® have become a popular way to help more intelligently juggle busy schedules, bridging personal and professional gaps by combining all of your calendars and events into a single interface.

But exactly what is a smart calendar app?

While they come in a variety of sizes and feature sets, the basics of a smart calendar app is that of a calendar aggregator; in other words, it can combine multiple existing calendars seamlessly into a single interface without any additional work required on the user’s part. This is typically done by utilizing the calendars already on your tablet and smartphone and pulling the event data together.

Common Smart Calendar Features

In addition to typical calendar features such as scheduling, event editing and reminder notifications, smart calendar apps take your calendar a step further with contextually intelligent, innovative features to make it easier to manage your day.

Smart calendar app features can include:

  • Aggregation of multiple calendars into a single interface, e.g. displaying events from both your work and personal calendars together;
  • Providing actionable information on calendar events, such as links to a maps application from an event address or one-tap dial-in to a conference call;
  • Information about other guests on your events, including contact info, social media profiles and notes;
  • Actionable event notifications that let you dial out to a conference call or launch an online meeting app directly from the meeting reminder notification; and
  • Displaying relevant information based on the location and time-of-day of your events, such as weather conditions, traffic and drive times.

These are just a sample of the unique features offered by many smart calendar apps, and new functionality is constantly being added to these mobile apps as mobile device hardware and software develops and evolves.

Learn More

* Learn how to integrate a smart calendar into your online meetings, including connecting your calendar to your Salesforce account.

* Visit www.agenday.com to learn more about integrating a smart calendar app into your workday.

* Download Agenday today for iPhone, Android or Amazon Fire Phone.