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Where Does the Global Business Day Start?

Mumbai could kick off the business day

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Japan is the “land of the rising sun,” but is that where the global business day begins? With my new outlook from Mumbai, India, I’ve noticed that the flow of business is quite different than in New York.

Below are three observations of the global business day that I’ve experienced:

View from Edelman in New York

Sunset view from Edelman New York

The view from my desk at Edelman in New York

For more than two years, I sat in our firm’s office overlooking the Hudson River and the Financial District. There, the world’s business day felt like it revolved around the market opening on Wall Street. Occasionally, it would start with overnight emails from Europe or with an early morning call to catch our colleagues in Asia before they went home. On those occasions, I felt as if I’d missed some important occurrences that had already been conducted on other continents. On the other hand, several of my clients were on the West Coast, so we often stayed late to wrap up assignments. Then, New Yorkers being New Yorkers, we would often go out into the city that never sleeps.

 

View from Silicon Valley

View of mountains in San Jose

View of mountains in San Jose near my client’s offices

My first exposure to a different flow of business was working from my client’s Silicon Valley offices in California. There, my concept of New York as the center of the business day continued. I routinely got up for 6am and 7am calls to cater to New York schedules since California is three hours behind. However, the early mornings were often complemented by an early end to the day. By 1pm Pacific Time, the New York Stock Exchange was closed, and by 4pm, the majority of reporters at the nation’s largest newspapers had filed their stories (although in reality, media is 24/7). As such, the end of the day in California truly felt like the end of the global business day.

 

View from Edelman in Mumbai

Confernce room idol in Edelman Mumbai

A view in a confernce room on my floor at Edelman in Mumbai

Now that I’ve been in Mumbai for one month as part of the Edelman Global Fellows Program, I’ve found the flow of the global business day is very different. India has just one time zone (UTC +5.5), but within three surrounding time zones, you have China, Indonesia, Western Australia, Moscow, the Middle East, half of Africa, and most of Eastern Europe (it still blows my mind that Vilnius, Lithuania is only 2.5 hours behind Mumbai). Watching the morning news and reading the morning papers here seems almost like an unfair advantage. We know what’s happening before the Western Hemisphere is awake. This could be one of the reasons why Mumbai, the financial center of the world’s largest democracy, could set the agenda for the global business day. With that kind of head start, Mumbaikers have an opportunity to influence global commerce. That said, I hope to find additional opportunities for my colleagues to communicate with our worldwide teams and increasingly serve as a center of early morning agenda-setting.

Does your city define the global business day? Let me know in the comments below.

Darius Razgaitis is a Fellow for Edelman in Mumbai, from New York.

  • Undisclosed Isthebest

    Like Dirk Struan keeping somebody stationed on the highest peak in Hong Kong (Fung Wong Shan?) to get a few hours head start on business once the mail from London comes in.

    Do you think it’s important enough to assign someone in NY to work earlier hours that correspond to Indian hours, say, to brief everyone else first thing in the morning?

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