Productivity | October 10, 2019

Daylight Savings Implications to Businesses in 2019

The concept of daylight savings (DST) has been subject to varying opinions since it was first proposed after the Second World War. Every year, the world takes one big-time leap forward, and another one backward; In 2019, the first leap occurred on the 10th of March when time clocks sprung forward by an hour, starting from 2 A.M. of that day. The second time leap is going to happen on the 3rd of November, only this time, the world travels back one hour - returning to its initial state. But, during these times clocks aren't the only subjects to change, economies, businesses, and individuals are also faced with challenges

First, we must acknowledge that there are certain benefits associated with DST, like the pleasure of leaving work while there is still daylight or traveling back home not having to worry about the dark. However, recent studies conducted by professors at Singapore Management University claim that time alterations during daylight savings are known to lower the productivity of employees. Another study of mining injuries across the U.S. found a spike in workplace injuries of nearly 6 percent on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time. Furthermore, when an employee gets injured, there are high chances that they won't show up for work for a few days, weeks, possibly even months. At this point, the loss in productivity should be obvious to any small business owner.

So why does a 60-minute time adjustment cause all of these kinds of problems?

Daylight Savings Increases Workplace Injuries

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The main argument made against daylight savings is sleep deprivation. Time shifts instantaneously but our bodies don't. In fact, a human body takes approximately one week to adjust to time changes caused by daylight savings. Moreover, these shifts take place in the middle of the night which indicates that the labor force is being deprived of 60 minutes of sleep that night. 

At first, sleeping an hour less on a particular day of the year may seem irrelevant but the American Society of Safety Professionals has found that a reduction in the amount of sleep is directly linked to increased fatigue, car crashes, and in worst-case scenarios, heart attacks. 

Small business owners have to understand the general implications of daylight savings, especially those hiring remote employees. Businesses such as construction, landscaping, and transportation do not recognize the degree of risk associated with daylight savings every spring. Furthermore, the lack of security for these remote employees during daylight savings doubles the risks for the construction company.

Accordingly, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) released a guidance statement in 2012 in which a comprehensive case was made against the reduced risk management being linked to reduced sleep. 

The statement says; “Fatigue and decreased alertness resulting from insufficient or poor-quality sleep can have several safety-related consequences, including slowed reaction time, reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks and loss of awareness in critical situations”. 

As such, it is the role of businesses to establish systems dedicated to keeping track of the health and whereabouts of their remote crew during work hours.

At this point, it is clear that human beings are accustomed to habit, and changes that disrupt those habits can have negative consequences. Moving an hour ahead or back can disrupt the circadian rhythms, cause sleep deprivation and prohibit an individual from reaching high levels of productivity during the following day. 

Talking About Productivity…

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The risk that comes from daylight savings is not entirely isolated to workplace safety. If we were to assume that sleep deprivation does not result in any risk, we would still have employees with a disrupted workflow following the day after daylight savings. To support this argument, a few Psychologists reported that “workers tend to “cyberloaf” – that is, they use their computers and internet access to engage in activities that are not related to work – at a substantially higher rate on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time than on other Mondays”. In simple terms, cyberloafing can be used synonymous with time-wasting. When people waste time browsing their social media or reading unrelated articles, businesses lose money. In fact, a recent estimate from the Huffington Post claimed that shifts in time could be costing the U.S. businesses approximately $434 million a year. 

But is there anything one can do to prevent daylight savings from disrupting a businesses’ workflow?

Coping With Daylight Savings Troubles

The answer is yes, executives across small businesses can take certain measures to cope with the problems that erupt from shifts in time. 

Inform and Encourage

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Education goes a long way when talking about daylight savings. In many cases, management does not believe that education is the right way to inform a crew on a particular topic; however, we must differentiate between topics concerning the company and those concerning the health of that crew member. Additionally, certain topics are more interesting than others, and from various studies, we have come to understand that daylight savings facts never fail to amaze people. This means that grabbing the attention of your team and communicating expectations during daylight savings can be a breeze. A few suggestions to employees include: 

  • Shifting bedtime to 15-20 minutes earlier than usual, one night before the change in time occurs. This small gap can be quite beneficial in making the transition smoother.

  • Bring your other routine activities back by the same amount of time. This includes the things that you do daily out of habit, for example, bringing back dinner time by 15-20 minutes.

  • Get some early morning sunlight on Sunday to help your body naturally adjust its internal clock for the time change.

Encouraging team members to take consider these activities can minimize health-related risks, reduce the probability of injuries during workhours and maximize productivity levels after daylight savings.

Monitor and Secure

Education, although necessary it can fail to convince everyone to pursue certain actions. In such circumstances, businesses have to step in and implement alternatives that are dedicated to keeping their employees safe and productive during the day following time alterations.

One modern solution is location tracking. Over the past few years, small business owners have started to recognize the benefits of automation and as a result, they have started integrating custom tools that help them minimize daily mundane tasks. Among these solutions are time tracking tools - which host the feature called location tracking

Guess who benefits the most from the tools or apps (if mobile adaptable)?

We have already talked about them… The businesses which do not have a clear oversight of their employees, specifically remote employees. Whether it's a construction or a landscaping business, location tracking allows business owners to pinpoint the exact location of employees and provide assistance if necessary. This feature can be very useful in days when employees are tired and the risk of injury is high.

Bear in mind that location tracking is perfectly safe and secure. Developers of modern time and location trackers understand the importance of privacy, as such, most of these apps are active only during work hours - meaning, the minute the employee clocks out, the app stops tracking their location. The second alternative, relative to the first one enforces the use of modern applications to monitor and keep employees safe while under the jurisdiction of the business. Construction businesses that carry out high-risk tasks could be the ones benefiting the most from location tracking capabilities.

The general trends towards daylight savings

In recent years a lot of movements have been going on to encourage states to abolish legislation that enacts daylight savings time. One of the biggest so far is a petition asking Congress to remove the system nationwide. There have already been nearly two hundred thousand responses to the petition and this is not the only one in circulation. Several states are already in the process of opting out of daylight savings; thereby, forcing Congress to take care of the matter swiftly.

The international community is also following suit after a survey performed by the European Union got an overwhelming 84% response from 4.6 million respondents who wanted the system abolished from the EU by 2021.

That being said, it is quite clear that the negative impact of daylight savings does not outweigh the benefits of maintaining it. 

The new daylight savings' day is approaching. Note the data in your calendars, and give your best shot at encouraging employees to take precautions with respect to the changes in time. If you, as the business owner do not believe advising crew members is enough then take the effort to invest in an automation tool that includes location tracking capabilities.


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