This article expands on the dangers and costs of switching to Daylight Saving Time. We’ll start with death and destruction.
Workplace injuries, it seems, are more numerous and more severe on the Monday following the annual switch to Daylight Saving Time. At least that is the conclusion of researchers in the paper, Changing to Daylight Saving Time Cuts Into Sleep and Increases Workplace Injuries. The study focused on workplace accidents in mining operations and used data available through the U.S. Department of Labor, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The estimated impact is eye-opening.
Results indicate that, on average, 3.6 more injuries occurred and 2,649 more days of work were lost because of injuries on days following phase advances than on non phase change days.
The authors go on to conclude:
In summary, we found that time phase changes that are intended to better align waking activity with daylight periods have negative side effects on organizations. Following phase advances, employees slept 40 min less, had 5.7% more workplace injuries, and lost 67.6% more work days because of injuries than on non phase change days. Phase delays did not have any significant effects on sleep, injury frequency, or injury severity. Thus, on balance, implementing Daylight Saving Time phase changes costs employees sleep and injuries. We therefore conclude that schedule changes, such as those involved in switches to and from Daylight Saving Time, place employees in clear and present danger. Such changes put employees in a position in which they are more likely to be injured—these injuries being especially severe, and perhaps resulting in death.
And now to a concern that Wall Street should take seriously, cyberloafing –
engaging in non-work online activities while “on the clock”.
The authors of the study, Lost Sleep and Cyberloafing: Evidence From the Laboratory and a Daylight Saving Time Quasi-Experiment, wanted to explore the effects of switching to Daylight Saving Time on worker productivity.
To accomplish this, they looked to Google. Specifically, they wanted to know how many searches were performed on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Specifically, they looked at search volume on entertainment oriented websites.
On the Monday following the switch to DST, Google users searched for over 3.1% more entertainment-related websites compared with the preceding Monday and over 6.4% more compared with the subsequent
In a followup to this they conducted a lab-based study with college students to further quantify the effects of Daylight Saving Time on productivity. In this setting the results were dramatic.
From a practical perspective, these results suggest that for every minute the participant slept the night before the lab session, the participant engaged in .05 fewer minutes cyberloafing (or 3 fewer minutes cyberloafing per hour spent sleeping). For every minute of interrupted sleep the prior night, participants engaged in .14 minutes more cyberloafing (or 8.4 more minutes cyberloafing per hour of interrupted sleep) during the task.
Just to put this in perspective, 20% of the time allotted for the task the participants were asked to do was spent doing something else. That’s a potentially huge drain on productivity and one more reason the archaic practice of Daylight Saving Time should be stopped.