Die Erde wall map

Global cooperation across time zones

Exactly a year ago we didn’t go to the office anymore. One thing that pandemic has taught us by now, on an anniversary of the WHO’s declaration of pandemic, is to sit in endless zooms and teams and meets. It has been amazing to see how the international cooperation has kept on going in digital platforms. It is also fantastic to estimate the amount of avoided greenhouse gas emissions that has been saved. But for those who anticipate there won’t be any need for any face-to-face get-togethers in the future, I have one geographical news to tell.

Organizing a meeting with Europe and Africa is like a dream with those same beautiful meridians crossing our continents. Combining one with either Americas or Asia is fine, but if you want to do both, forget the office hours. Include the Pacific and someone has to stay awake in the middle of the night. Anyone working on a truly global business must puzzle how to execute power on someone’s bedtime.

Only a year ago the currency converter was one of my favorite apps. Now it is the time zone converter. Or as a matter of fact, I only rarely need it anymore since by now I know the mathematics by heart. I’ve also learned that it is easier to keep people involved late in the evening than to get them out of bed very early in the morning. So, if it is 7 a.m. in Ottawa, it is 7 p.m. in Jakarta. That’s not bad at all, but 6 and 6 is already worse. Add Wellington, and the meeting starts there in the middle of the night, at 1 a.m. It would be unfair to expect sharp comments or innovative brainstorming in such an hour. 

No matter how digital we get and how fancy tools and gadgets we have, our planet is still a round one and the sun does not shine everywhere at the same time. We keep on having the time zones.

Die Erde wall map

Die Erde – a school map, which I bought from a market place in a small municipality of Mettlach in Saarland, Germany. It is now on our kitchen wall and I simply don’t get bored marveling at it. Mettlach is close to the boarders of Luxembourg and France. A reason to go there is the headquarters of ceramics factory Villeroy & Boch – and random impulse purchasing of big maps. I still regret I did not buy the massive one on Pacific Ocean. Such a huge blue map! But the Pacific was simply too big. The largest and deepest of all.