Daylight Saving Time isn’t just about losing an hour of sleep over a weekend and not quite knowing what time it is for a few days afterward. It’s actually designed to make life more enjoyable for people, who tend to spend more awake time in the evenings than in the mornings.
When more people are awake during more daylight hours, they’re more likely to go outside, produce more vitamin D, exercise more, and socialize more. Yet a lot of people dislike DST because of the disruption – and in the middle of a weekend at that!
Originally, DST was thought to drive energy savings, the theory being that more people would be using natural sunlight for heat and light rather than running a furnace or turning on lights everywhere. Studies have shown that energy savings are negligible at best, so proponents of DST focus more heavily on its supposed “feel good” aspects.
Do Executives Even Notice the Extra Daylight?
Many executives work long hours, with many of these hours taking place after the workday has finished for everyone else. Work until 9 each evening, and how are you even going to notice a difference between DST and Standard Time, unless you live in an extreme northern or southern latitude?
The point is, maybe executives who don’t notice the differences wrought by changing the clock forward one hour should reconsider their priorities. There could be a whole world awaiting you outside the office walls that you don’t know about if you’re used to logging long days.
Maybe You Should Enjoy the Lighter Evenings Away from the Office
Your physical and mental health play an enormous role in your productivity and your effectiveness as a leader. So perhaps you should take that extra hour of daylight in the evenings as a signal to bring things to a timely close at work and make the most of it. The best use of that time depends on your lifestyle, tastes, and habits.
For some, taking in a baseball game is ideal, while for others, running errands or exercising in the long evening hours makes a positive difference. Every executive is going to burn the midnight oil sometimes. That’s to be expected. But making the effort to get things done efficiently and enjoying the lighter evenings can be a self-rewarding, positive feedback loop.
Be Aware of the Clock’s Effects on Your Team
It’s also important that you be aware of how the semi-annual changing of the clocks affects your team members. The next workday after the change to Daylight Saving Time will probably include some sleepy people whose sleep schedules aren’t quite on track yet. Try to be patient. And however busy you are, make sure you don’t forget that the clocks have changed. You don’t want to mistakenly believe everyone is skipping out early when in fact it’s after quitting time. Once everyone is used to different daylight hours, perhaps it’s a good time to consider a spring wellness initiative that gets everyone outside more. Community gardens or outdoor sports leagues are excellent ways to help your team focus on their well-being.
Clocks Are Ultimately a Social Agreement
Punctuality is a virtue, as anyone knows who has waited impatiently for someone who chronically runs late. However, clocks are ultimately a major social construct designed for uniformity of experience over large regions. See the clock for what it is – a measuring device – rather than as a taskmaster, and recognize the advantages you and your employees have with longer, lighter evenings. Put your sense of productivity to work so you can enjoy the added daylight at the end of the day and set a great example for your team. Sometimes long work hours are necessary, but that’s ultimately in support of a better quality of life in the long term.
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