Let's Talk Business: Daylight Savings
Sunday morning at two am we officially moved to “Daylight Savings” as clocks were moved forward one hour. This annual event that first started in Germany in 1916 and began in the U.S. on March 19, 1918 often leads to groggy mornings, tired employees and according to research done at the University of Colorado – Boulder a six percent increase in fatal car accidents. With all these downsides why do we keep making the change each year?
Proponents of Daylight Savings time make several arguments of why it is a benefit to have more daylight in the evenings for a majority of the year. Benefits include a decrease in crime activity in the evenings as more ambient light reduces robberies during the most common commuting hours.
The second often sighted benefit is that it is good for business. More daylight, after the traditional workday, encourages increased retail activity. Shoppers tend to spend during the daylight when daylights savings ends in the fall, there is a slight decrease of about 3.5% in retail spending.
The final point of benefit is that additional daylight promotes an active lifestyle after work. People tend to participate in more outdoor activities when the evening light last longer. This activity helps promote more active lifestyles and also increase retail spending as participants tend to invest more for their activities.
From an oppositional standpoint the shift for daylights savings has some drawbacks. The time change is bad for your health as it impacts sleeping patterns and our natural circadian rhythms. From a business perspective the time change in the spring actually cost money in lost productivity, there is even a nickname for today, “Sleepy Monday” which leads to “Cyber-Loafing” during the workday. This begs the question, if Daylight Savings is so great, why don’t we make it a permanent change?
In March of 2022 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would have done away with the annual clock change making daylight savings time permanent. The house failed to act on it last year and the bill died as the congressional session came to a close in December. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida recently reintroduced the legislation in the Senate for consideration, but it remains to be seen if action will be taken by congress.