As a growing, progressive firm, we live out our values in how we do our work. We encourage team members to set their hours, working whenever they’d like. It’s not just good politics; it’s good business. That said, given everyone gets to pick whenever they complete their work, that created a challenge for our firm: We needed to sort out business hours. As you read this update’s title, you might ask: “Okay, but, how did you do that and what do business hours have to do with colonization?” In a word: Everything.
Time zones are arbitrary and socially constructed.
The Earth is a big, round ball that spins on horizontal and vertical axes. So, it’s interesting to learn how and where we started counting time on it.
In 1884, immediately after the U.S. ended most forms of the legalized enslavement of humans, the International Meridian Conference met in Washington, D.C. Several nations — excluding African and Asian countries (except Japan) — met to pick two things related to a dot:
- A Prime Meridian: This is basically an arbitrary dot selected as the 0° line of longitude by which the entire planet would measure the distance from East and West.
- Time Zones: They also decided to count time from that point — basically, the point at which the sun crosses that dot would be the 00:00:00 hour from which the world counts time.
And where is this dot? The Royal Observatory in England. It’s located in London’s Greenwich time zone. The average (or “mean”) time that the sun crosses it is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +0). Daylight savings time, which is also political, shifts GMT +0 to GMT +1 when it’s on.
Breaking down our business hours.
Given how time zones are determined, we’d like to share a bit more about how we picked when to open and close the firm.
We are open 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET, Monday through Friday, because we’re based in the U.S. Also, most of our clients are businesses, NGOs, and nonprofits in the U.S., though we’re also expanding our operations in Europe and elsewhere.
We are closed on all U.S. federal holidays and Portuguese National Holidays. In step with our firm’s support of workers’ rights, we observe both Labor Day in the U.S. and International Workers’ Day (May 1).
Picking our “business hours” intentionally.
- About our team: When we chose to intentionally let everyone set their own working hours, we rooted our decision in the knowledge that people have different circadian rhythms due to their environment and situations. For our firm, this is doubly important because not only are we all productive at different times, but we’re also working in different time zones. In fact, we had a team member share her experience of being a digital nomad.
- About our clients: If we have set business hours, but people work whenever they want, you might wonder: How do you decide when to set meetings? For our own sanity and our clients, we chose to hold meetings during our Firm’s hours. Regardless of the time zone in which you work, all work-related meetings should occur during our Firm’s regular business hours. As an exception, if our Firm and our client are working in the same or similar time zones, we might mutually agree to shift meeting schedules.
If you like the way we think and your business could benefit from our services, you should work with us! Whether you’re abiding by PST, ET, WEST, CEST, or any other time zone, our international team can find the right time to meet with you.
We’re here when you need us and where you need us. Get in touch to partner up.