Please tolerate my rant.
I live in the Eastern time zone of the United States (GMT –5). Working for a global company, I frequently have to deal with people in varying time zones. However, mostly I deal with other folks in this country. And, the most annoying, by far, are those in the Pacific time zone (GMT -8).
I get to work at the start of normal business hours in the US—8 AM. Though I don’t shy away from staying late with cause, I do like to be out the door at 5:00 or 5:30. In general, this isn’t a problem.
Unless, of course, I have to do business in California. 2 PM is a common meeting time—a sweet spot for the afternoon. Its far enough after the noon hour that everyone has had lunch and taken care of the after-lunch e-mail and phone calls, but far enough from the end of the day that action items can be addressed and people are constantly checking their watches.
Of course, if someone in California wants to call this meeting, it really is 5 PM for me. Doing it earlier usually means that first our lunch then theirs gets in the way. Before 11 my time, and the West Coast folks are just getting in to the office (never a good time to have a meeting).
The Californians don’t seem to think anything of it. In part, I suspect that staying late is seen as part of the job; coming in early is a hardship. This is why my proposing a 10 AM (my time) meeting is usually rejected—that means they have to come in early.
As noted above, I don’t inherently object to working late. However, the pain should be shared—let’s have that 10 AM EST meeting!