The company that I work for is literally global hence it could truly be said is never closed for business, (some sections even function on Christmas Day, either because of regional observances or because the work cannot be interrupted). Likewise operations such as the health services and other emergency services have no true Close of Business.

But you still hear, or see in e-mails, things like "I need this report by COB today".

I am wondering if anybody knows of a clear unambiguous word, phrase or abbreviation for what such writers really mean, i.e. before the end of normal office hours at this location, who knows maybe if I can find something I can, by example, get everybody to use it.

  • 3
    Just get them to use an actual time. Clear and unambiguous, and could even be before the last person leaves the office.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 9:24
  • Our site alone uses both flexi-time for some workers and shift covering 24/7 fpr others. I wish that people would use an actual time but... Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 4:47
  • 1
    Be careful with such acronyms in a global company. I have experienced COB being used with the meaning "Commence of Business".
    – nielsen
    Commented Apr 26 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


I believe this is context-sensitive and if used unqualified, it should mean the COB at the location of the deliverable.

Else, the (less ambiguous) alternatives are:

COB so-and-so(timezone) : COB Utopia Time

so-and-so(exact time) so-and-so(timezone): 5:30 pm Utopia Time


Noun COB ‎(plural COBs)

Close of Business, usually referring to a deadline for an office in another time zone.  

NY office told the LA office to have report e-mailed by COB.

  • I often don't know which timezone co-workers are in a the time of writing it is not unusual for the guy that normally sits 3 desks from me to be emailing from 11/12 timezones away. Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 4:51
  • I guess you'll then have to have your timezone as reference and qualify COB (or explicit time) accordingly. The other person obviously needs to take care of the math. Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 4:54
  • Hence I am looking for something less ambiguous. Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 4:58
  • Just curious, why do you rule out COB XYZ Time as the phrase where XYZ is your timezone? Is it not unambiguous? Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 5:10
  • Because COB Today GMT could be "end of core hours", "end of my/your shift", midnight, "my/your going home time" and still depends on what the local working pattern at the speakers location is, i.e. expected working hours differ from location to location and business to business. I cannot expect someone in another part of the world to know when we normally finish work even if I tell them what timezone I am in. Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 5:22

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