Published: Sep 20, 2022 | Updated at: Sep 20, 2022

Did you know that the average person working in an office job receives over 120 emails daily? If you’re working a standard eight hours then that means you’re getting about 15 emails per hour. So, it’s wise to learn how to shorten phrases for brevity.

In this case, it pays to understand COB's meaning and how it compares to EOD's meaning. What do these two phrases mean in office and email speak and can you use them interchangeably? Honestly, in most cases, you can.

However, there’s an art to knowing how to use COB and how to use EOD. Here’s how to differentiate between the two and incorporate them into your everyday vocabulary.

COB Meaning

COB stands for "close of business." It's used to describe the time when a workday is over and employees can leave the office. COB is also sometimes written as COFB, which stands for "close of the business day." 

Where might you most often see this term used? COB is typically used in email and instant messaging at work. It's considered a more formal way to say "end of the day" or "EOD." We’ll get into the meaning of EOD in a bit, but know that COB is slightly more formal.

How to Use COB

COB is commonly used in email sign-offs and other written communication to indicate when someone will be available or when something is due. For example, you might write, "I'll have the report COB Friday" to mean that the report will be ready by the end of the workday on Friday. 

COB can also be used more broadly to describe the end of the workday or work week. For example, you might say, "I'm leaving COB today" to mean that you're leaving work for the day. 

In general, COB is a helpful way to set expectations about timing and avoid confusion (especially if you’re working in a remote team).

EOD Meaning

EOD stands for "end of the day." It's a way to signal the end of work or the end of a workday. EOD can be used as a noun or an adjective. 

When used as a noun, EOD refers to the time when work ends. For example, "I'm going to leave at EOD." 

When used as an adjective, EOD describes something that happens at the end of the workday. For example, "We have an EOD meeting scheduled for 4 pm." 

It’s important to know that in some professional settings, EOD is also sometimes used as an acronym for "employees on duty." This refers to the people who are working at a particular time. For example, "There are only two EODs in this department."

However, in 99% of the cases where you see or hear someone use the phrase EOD, they’re referring to “end of the day.”

How to Use EOD

As mentioned above, EOD is a bit less formal than COB. Ultimately, it’s best to use this term as a marker for when tasks need to be completed. 

For example, if you're working on a project that's due at the end of the day, you might say that it needs to be EOD'd. EOD can also be used as a cutoff for meeting deadlines. If something is due EOD, it means that it needs to be submitted by the end of the day. 

EOD vs. COB: What’s the Difference?

Because EOD stands for “end of the day” and COB stands for “close of business,” it’s best to use COB if you want to be more exact. COB refers to the end of the business day or whenever the office closes. 

This means that if you need something at or before 5 pm, it’s best to use COB because you need it by the close of business. If you use EOD then you’re simply asking someone to return something to you before the day itself is over.

This means that they could continue to work on it in the evening after leaving the office and send it over to you by 11 pm.

Ultimately, this is where the very fine line between EOD’s meaning and COB’s meaning comes into play. In most cases, using COB is more exact and refers to the end of the workday, which is around 5 pm to 6 pm for most businesses.

EOD, on the other hand, just means that someone will return something or complete a task before 11:59 pm that evening. It’s more open-ended and broad.

Confirm More Exact Deadlines

When in doubt, we suggest confirming an exact hour if you’re setting a deadline for a task or project. Instead of asking someone to get something back to you by EOD Tuesday, request that it’s in your inbox by 4 pm on Tuesday. If you can, specify the time zone too.

This helps avoid confusion and keeps everybody on track. Of course, if you’re okay with having a flexible deadline then it’s fine to ask for something by EOD. It’s up to you.

However, if you’re working to become a better communicator in the workplace and have to work with strict deadlines then it’s often best to confirm exact times and dates. 

When in doubt, it’s okay to reach out to someone for clarification too. After all, communicating in a digital world means that sometimes things get lost in translation. There’s no harm in following up via email or Slack to ensure you understood the deadline.

Manage Projects With Halsell

Understanding COB's meaning and how it compares to the meaning of EOD is important if you’re managing a remote team or communicating via email with other professionals. When in doubt, confirm a more exact deadline to avoid confusion.

It also pays to ensure you manage all project tasks properly. With Halsell’s project management tool, this is easier than ever. Click here to learn more about how to save time and improve efficiency across all of your projects and teams.

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