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Close of Business (COB)

"Close of business" (COB) is a commonly used term in the business world that marks the end of the working day for an organization. It represents the point in time when a company's daily operations and activities conclude, and employees typically wrap up their work and prepare to leave for the day. COB serves as a reference point for setting deadlines and expectations within a business context, often indicating when specific tasks or actions should be completed.

What is close of business (COB)?

"Close of business" (COB) refers to the end of the working day for a business or organization. It signifies the time when a company's regular operations and activities for the day conclude, and employees typically finish their work and leave the workplace. COB is often used to set deadlines for tasks or actions to be completed by the end of the business day.

COB is a convenient way to communicate deadlines and expectations within a business context. However, it's essential to clarify the exact meaning of COB when setting deadlines, especially when dealing with individuals or parties in different time zones or regions to avoid any misunderstandings.

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What are business days?

Business days, also known as working days, are the weekdays when most businesses and organizations operate and conduct their regular activities. These days typically exclude weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and official holidays. Business days are essential for conducting various business-related operations, such as transactions, meetings, customer service, and administrative tasks.

What are normal or reasonable business hours?

Normal or reasonable business hours can vary depending on the country, industry, and specific business practices. However, there are some general guidelines for what is considered normal or standard business hours in many English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

These hours typically fall within the range of:

  • Monday through Friday: Business days generally span from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday typically considered weekends.
  • 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM: The core of the business day typically falls within the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. This 9-to-5 schedule is a common reference point for standard business hours.
  • Lunch break: Many businesses have a designated lunch break, often around noon, which can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, some offices and shops may temporarily close or have reduced staffing.

When do we use COB?

Some common situations when you might use COB:

  1. Setting employee deadlines
  2. Client or customer requests
  3. Project management
  4. Meeting scheduling
  5. Internal communications
  6. Vendor or supplier requests
  1. Setting employee deadlines: When assigning tasks or projects to employees, you can use COB to communicate when you expect the work to be completed. For example, "Please have the project report on my desk by COB tomorrow."
  2. Client or customer requests: When requesting information, documents, or actions from clients or customers, you can use COB to provide a clear timeframe. For instance, "We need your approval on the contract changes by COB today."
  3. Project management: COB is often used in project management to establish deadlines for specific project milestones or deliverables. For example, "The design phase must be completed by COB next Friday."
  4. Meeting scheduling: When proposing meeting times, you can suggest a time by COB to indicate that you'd like the meeting to be scheduled by the end of the business day. For instance, "Let's aim to schedule the client meeting by COB tomorrow."
  5. Internal communications: COB can be used in internal emails or messages to convey internal deadlines or expectations within an organization. For example, "Please submit your expense reports for this month by COB on the 15th."
  6. Vendor or supplier requests: When dealing with vendors or suppliers, you can use COB to specify when you need deliveries, shipments, or responses. For instance, "We require the materials to be delivered by COB next Monday."

Why do companies use acronyms in communication?

Some of the key reasons why acronyms are commonly used in business communication:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Simplification
  3. Ease of reference
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Standardization
  6. Global communication
  7. Technical jargon
  1. Efficiency: Acronyms save time and space in written and spoken communication. Instead of using long phrases or technical terms repeatedly, companies can use acronyms to convey complex ideas or concepts quickly and concisely.
  2. Simplification: Acronyms simplify complex terminology or lengthy business names, making them more accessible and easier to remember. This simplification can enhance brand recognition and improve communication with customers and clients.
  3. Ease of reference: Acronyms serve as convenient reference points. Employees and team members can use them to refer to projects, departments, or concepts without the need for lengthy explanations.
  4. Confidentiality: In certain cases, companies use acronyms to maintain confidentiality or protect sensitive information. By using acronyms, they can discuss projects or initiatives without revealing sensitive details.
  5. Standardization: Acronyms help standardize terminology and abbreviations within an organization. This consistency can improve internal communication and reduce misunderstandings.
  6. Global communication: In multinational companies or when dealing with international partners, acronyms can transcend language barriers. They provide a common shorthand that people from different language backgrounds can understand.
  7. Technical jargon: In industries with specialized technical terminology, acronyms are used to simplify communication among experts. This is common in fields like IT, healthcare, finance, and engineering.

How to use COB in the workplace?

Guidelines on how to use COB in a professional setting:

  1. Specify the time zone
  2. Use in clear communication
  3. Consider the recipient
  4. Use in project management
  5. Set realistic deadlines
  6. Coordinate across time zones
  7. Follow up and confirm
  1. Specify the time zone: COB often refers to the end of the business day, which can vary depending on time zones. To avoid confusion, specify the time zone you are referencing when using COB. For example, "Please submit your report by COB (5:00 PM EST)."
  2. Use in clear communication: When setting deadlines or making requests, ensure that the use of COB is clear and unambiguous. State the specific date and time if needed to avoid misunderstandings. For instance, "I need your feedback on the proposal by COB Friday."
  3. Consider the recipient: When using COB in emails or messages, consider whether the recipient is familiar with the acronym. If not, it's a good practice to explain it the first time you use it in a conversation or provide a definition.
  4. Use in project management: COB can be helpful in project management to establish deadlines for tasks or milestones. Make sure the project team understands the meaning and implications of COB in the project schedule.
  5. Set realistic deadlines: When using COB to assign tasks or projects, ensure that the deadlines are achievable and allow sufficient time for completion. Setting unrealistic COB deadlines can lead to stress and reduced quality of work.
  6. Coordinate across time zones: In organizations with employees or stakeholders in different time zones, coordinate the use of COB to avoid confusion. Clearly communicate which time zone's COB is applicable to the task.
  7. Follow up and confirm: After assigning a task with a COB deadline, consider following up with the responsible party to confirm that they understand the deadline and have the necessary resources to complete the task on time.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How is EOD and COB different?

The difference between EOD & COB:

  1. EOD generally refers to the end of the business day in the sender's time zone. While COB often refers to the end of the business day in relation to a specific time zone, typically Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States.
  2. EOD's meaning is relative to the sender's location and time zone. If the sender is in a different time zone from the recipient, it can lead to potential misunderstandings. While COB is often associated with a specific time zone (e.g., EST) and is less dependent on the sender's location. This can provide more clarity in cross-border or international communication.
  3. EOD can offer more flexibility in terms of interpretation, as it can be specific to the sender's local time. However, this flexibility can also lead to misunderstandings in global contexts. While COB provides a relatively standardized reference point, making it a more suitable choice when communicating across different time zones or when precise timing is important.

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