Benefits and drawbacks to businesses during daylight saving time

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In the United States, the concept of daylight saving time was first developed by Ben Franklin in the late 18th century, but was not put fully in to practice in the U.S. until the Uniform Time Act was passed by Congress in 1966.

Over the years, there has been much debate on whether or not daylight saving time (DST) is worth the effort. There are arguments put forward for both sides of the issue.

While many arguments both for and against changing the clocks forward in the spring and then backward in the fall relate to energy and health, the financial aspect is another consideration. For instance, how does it impact businesses? Both advocates and opponents point out several ways businesses are impacted either positively or negatively.

What advocates say about DST

Energy savings are often a benefit touted by proponents of DST (although there is some debate about this...). An article published on the Decoded Science website indicated less energy consumption leads to a decrease in business overhead. Other industries that rely on daylight, such as tourism, golf and some niche industries, may see increased profitability during times of extended daylight. 
Steve Calandrillo, of the University of Washington School of Law, suggests the U.S. should ditch the clock changing, but "turn on" DST year round. In an article published in 2010 by Business Week, Calandrillo cites several benefits; these include costs associated with energy being used during darkened hours when people are awake and avoiding these expenses.
In addition, some statistics suggest crime goes down during prolonged daylight. For examples, a reduction of criminal activity related to daylight is a positive result of more daylight during peak crime hours. Calandrillo suggested this benefits businesses because every year tens of billions of dollars are lost to thieves, and those criminals are less apt to steal in daylight/business hours.

Proponents of DST say everyone can benefit through these and other financial boosts that stimulate overall economies.

What opponents say about DST

In the same article published by Business Week, William F. Shughart II of The Independent Institute said about $1.7 billion worth of time is used on clock-changing across the United States. He suggests this is an opportunity cost, or in other words, time that could have been productive in other ways.

Shughart suggests this trickles down to businesses across the world because in a global economy, everyone is impacted, whether they acknowledge DST or not in their home country.
ZDNet points to a 2010 study conducted by research firm Chmura Economics & Analytics found the "sudden jolt forward" cost the U.S. economy $433,982,548 that year and that certain regional markets were more impacted than others with per capita economic losses. An updated 2013 study puts this figure at $434 million (courtesy Business Insider).

Another consideration is increased workplace injuries. Live Science reported workers in certain industries tend to be hurt more frequently at the onset of daylight saving time in the spring. This could be due to the lost hour of sleep each day that might impact a person for several weeks. One other drawback opponents cite is "cyberloafing", which is said this tends to increase the first Monday after DST each year. This can cause businesses thousands of dollars in both salary and productivity.

Business impacts

Whether one agrees or not, at this time, it appears DST is not disappearing anytime soon, at least in the United States. That being the case and, as with any other external that is not controllable, it is worthwhile for companies to look for ways to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks associated with daylight saving time.


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