Working With The World From Israel — Time Zones

An ancient map of Israel depicting Jerusalem at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
An ancient map of Israel depicting Jerusalem at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In my last article here, I explained why freelancing internationally, from Israel, makes a lot of sense.

On one leg:

The international market is a lot bigger; it’s interesting to work with international cultures; sometimes (field-dependent) project rates are more buoyant; and really, it simply isn’t all that hard.

Besides the issue of getting paid (two words: Paypal and Transferwise) the other issue that stops people from thinking outside the merkaz is time zones.

In this article, I want to give a quick run-through of which international time zones are ‘Israel-friendly,’ which are less so, and which are almost downright impossible to work with.

What Is Israel Time?

Given that Israel is a tiny country it unsurprisingly has only one time zone: Israel Standard Time).

This is two hours ahead of UTC (coordinated universal time). Israel Standard Time (IST) changes to Israel Daylight Time (IDT) on the Friday before the last Sunday of March. The time zone revers to IST on the last Sunday of October.

The differences with Europe’s daylight savings time, and those of the rest of the world, are slightly jagged. Ireland, for instance, turned over to daylight savings time on the 29th of March this year — two days after Israel. It returns to winter time on the same date, however.

These minor differences aside, the offset for Europe is therefore:

  • 1 hour ahead of the European continent / Central European Time (CET)
  • 2 hours ahead of Western European Time (WET)
  • On the same time zone as Eastern European Time (EET)

Time Zone Overlays

Israel’s working day vs. the rest of the world. Source: author

And the source data:

Opening and closing of business in various world capitals. Source: Author.

The Hard Ones: Time Zones Without Overlapping Business Hours

A New Zealand landscape. Source:
  • 17:-00 in Aukland is 06:00 in Tel Aviv.

Likewise, the difference with Australia is extremely difficult to work with.

Australia has three major time zones:

Source: Wikipedia
  • Central: UTC +9.5
  • Eastern: UTC +10 (southern hemisphere winter), UTC+11 (southern hemisphere summer).
  • 17:00 in Melbourne is 08:00 in Tel Aviv.

Difficult But Doable: Pacific Time / The West Coast of the US

The Golden Gate Bridge. Source: Wikipedia
  • 17:00 in San Francisco is 03:00 in Tel Aviv
  • Limit your calls with the West Coast to two evening per week at most. Sivan suggested Tuesdays and Wednesdays as people aren’t fond of conducting business development calls on Mondays and I’m fond of not spending the equivalent of my Friday night working (Israel runs on a Sunday-Thursday workweek).
  • If you’re on call with the West Coast, cut your usual workday a little short, take a rest (or go to the gym) and then begin your calls.
  • Don’t let clients to push back your meetings to times that aren’t manageable for you. Set yourself a firm limit (stopping at 22:00 to 22:30 IST) and stick to it.

Working with Other US Time Zones (and Canada)

New York City. Source: Public Domain Pictures.
  • And 17:00 is midnight (00:00).

Working With Europe and the Near East

A color-coded map of European time zones. Note that, incongruously, Turkey is hour ahead of Israel despite the fact that some of its territory is further West

Note that, incongruously, Turkey is hour ahead of Israel (UTC+3) despite the fact that some of its territory is further West.  And finally, there are a few Near Asian territories on UTC+4 (Azerbaijan).

Working With Asia / The Far East

China. Source:
  • Dubai (United Arab Emirates / UAE) is 2 hours ahead of Israel.
  • India, despite being a subcontinent, only has one time zone: India Standard Time (IST — we share an acronym!). It’s at UTC+5.5, which means that they’re three and a half hours ahead of Israel.
  • China likewise is on a single time zone: UTC+8. This places them six hours ahead of Israel. Hong Kong SAR is on the same time — as is Singapore.
  • Japan is on UTC+9.
  • 17:00 in Beijing is 11:00 in Tel Aviv

There’s Always Somewhere To Work With!

Coffee and a computer. Site: Flickr.

09:00–13:00 / morning in Tel Aviv

Early-birds can overlap with the Far East. 17:00 in China is not until 11:00 in Israel. Conceivably, a work day could begin at 07:00 in Tel Aviv — which would be just 13:00 in Shanghai.

13:00–18:00 / afternoon and evening in Tel Aviv

All of Europe is open during the afternoon.

18:00–00:00 / night-time in Tel Aviv

The fun is just getting started.

00:00–08:00 / early morning in Tel Aviv

China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, will come online at 03:00.

There’s No Reason Not To Think Global

Of course, I don’t advocate trying to work at every hour of the day.

About the Author
Daniel Rosehill is a professional writer based in Jerusalem specializing in ghostwriting long-form thought leadership content for technology executives and public sector clients.
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