OK, so I literally never thought of this when I signed the contract. Happily asked to consult to a prestigious educational institution on the design of its new course on virtual teams. My role on the team of eight is "subject matter expert," which basically means I'm supplying the content (in point of fact, NetAge signed the contract and I'm the NetAge person working on supplying NetAge content, just to be absolutely clear).
There's a short window for pulling all this together, which means they want fast turnaround when the "developer" or the "instructional designer" or the "portfolio manager" or the "graphic designer" or the "project manager" (you get the idea, team of 8) needs help. No problem, I thought. I'm quick, am generally accessible online (ask my family or my addiction counselor - jussst kidding), and what could happen that would take me out of a 48-hour response time?
However, just to be safe, I specified in the contract that there were certain periods when this provision would not apply, times when I know I'm traveling in the months to come.
Then yesterday morning, Sunday that is, I got my first request for info, which is the majority of the material I have to submit. Pages and pages, way too much for even Ms. Speedy Fingers to return in 48 hours even if I didn't already have a full plate and several other deadlines looming.
Got me thinking about what I hadn't considered before signing the contract: When does the 48-hour clock start ticking in the virtual world? When the email is sent to me? When I open it? When I respond? Do weekends count? Holidays? Emails sent at 11 at night or 3 in the morning (yes, I've received such from other clients, especially those on different clocks altogether)? What if it's sent from tomorrow (someone in New Zealand, for example)?
Anyone else had to think about this? I've suggested that we include this dilemma in the course itself. And just for the record, the developer understands completely and is not expecting anything unreasonable from me.