Days since last timezone issue: -1 (via @accousticmirror)

It’s Daylight Confusion Week.

So, my meetings with Europeans shift by an hour—either forward or backward, depending on who made the meeting.

Yes, this is hard to think about. Here’s a chart:

23 Oct 30 Oct 😵 06 Nov
San Francisco, CA 📌 08:00 08:00 08:00
Paris, France 17:00 16:00 (-1hr) 17:00

See the problem?

  1. 🇪🇺 ← -1:00: Meetings for most of Europe are an hour earlier if the meeting is pinned to the US.
  2. 🇺🇸 → +1:00: Meetings for most of North America are an hour later if the meeting is pinned to Europe.

Next week, it’ll all be back to normal, at least until March 2024.

As a software engineer, my first instinct is to ask how we can fix this. But that’s the best part: we can’t.

Why this happens

tl;dr: daylight savings complicates timezone math.

In much of Europe, Daylight Savings Time ends today.

But North America will neglect their clocks for another week.

So, this week, Central Europe falls back one hour—making them one hour closer to North American timezones than usual. This happens two weeks a year—once in March and now.

But between Central Europe, North America, and places in the Southern Hemisphere—we’re sometimes 2-hours out of sync.

And for places without daylight savings time, this one-hour shift sticks around for half a year then shifts back.

It’s a mess.

OK, so pin meetings to UTC

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is lovely. But it won’t fix for Daylight Confusion Time.

We coordinate meetings using UTC. As in: “Hey, wanna meet Mondays at 15:00 UTC?”

But we book meetings in our local time zones.

If we used UTC instead, Daylight Confusion Week would expand to the entirety of Daylight Savings Time. Meetings would shift an hour in March and roll back in November.

There’s no “base timezone” that keeps the weekly meeting at the same local time for everyone all year long.

23 Oct 30 Oct 😵 06 Nov
UTC 15:00 15:00 16:00 (+1hr)
San Francisco, CA 📌 08:00 08:00 08:00
Paris, France 17:00 16:00 (-1hr) 17:00

No, really, there’s got to be a way to fix this

In order of preference, this is how I think we could fix this:

  • Stop having recurring meetings
  • Ban daylight savings everywhere forever
  • Coordinate our daylight savings times
  • Continue to suffer for a couple weeks a year

So far, we’ve made our choice. We’ve opted to suffer.