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Daylight Savings Time: Is today the most dangerously, unproductive day of the year?
The Monday following the switch to Daylight Savings Time has a history of problems, with research to back that...
If you’re reading this at work right now, it’s probably because you’re too darned sleepy to focus on the job you’re supposed to be doing.
Research backs this up: the Monday following Daylight Savings Time is hard on everyone and everything -- including the workplace. So while you’re waiting for your extra dose of caffeine to kick in, take a look at some of the research that explains why:
- More on-the-job accidents. You know those OSHA records you need to keep? They come in very handy when researchers are looking for connections between accidents and the switch to Daylight Savings Time. For example, a study of injuries in the mining sector found that between 1983 and 2006, the number of injuries increased by 6% on the Monday after the Daylight Savings Time switch. What’s worse is that the severity of those injuries (measured by the number of missed days of work) increased by 67%. Although a later study of BLS data somewhat negated this study, you may want to consider having all of your miners take today off, just to be safe. Sources: New York Times, APA Psych Net
- Lower productivity. Ever heard of cyberloafing? Apparently it’s a huge problem any time workers miss out on sleep. A 2016 New York Times article reported on a study that found “for every hour of interrupted sleep the previous night, participants … cyberloafed for 20% of their assigned task.” Researchers did the math for us and found that cyberloafing on the Monday following the Daylight Savings Time switch could cost more than $434 million each year in lost productivity in the United States -- something that doesn’t return when the clocks go back to Standard Time in the fall. Source: New York Times
- More car accidents. Researchers looked at 21 years of car accident fatalities and found a “significant increase” on the Monday following Daylight Savings Time. While the research was conducted 18 years ago, we’re guessing the problem is even more pronounced now that we all have a cyberloafing problem, too (see above). Source: National Institute of Health
- Increased risk of heart attack. Missing sleep impacts your overall health, which correspondingly impacts the workplace. According to the American College of Cardiology, making the switch to Daylight Savings Time results in a 25% increase in heart attacks on Monday. The good news is that this phenomenon does balance itself out in the fall where heart attacks drop by 21% on the Tuesday following the return to Standard Time. Source: American College of Cardiology
- Records-keeping bugs. Do you work in healthcare? Your record-keeping system might not be keeping up with the time change. USA Today reported in 2018 that Epic Systems’ electronic health records “can delete records or require cumbersome workarounds when clocks are set back for an hour.” That cumbersome workaround typically includes using paper in the early hours of the time switch, which doesn’t care what time it is. Source: USA Today
While the simple answer to most of these problems is to get to bed earlier, I think it’s a case for why the Monday following Daylight Savings Time should be a national holiday: a day of recovery from the time switch. But then again, that would probably just lead to more issues on Tuesday.
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