On Sunday March 9th Daylight Savings Time (DST) will hit once again. To many of us, the semi-annual changing of the clock has always been a part of our seasonal cycle and we have never thought to question: why?
Daylight Savings Time became the official standard in America in 1966, with the purpose of energy conservation and through the 1970s was continually adjusted. Almost 50 years later DST continues, but it is beginning to be a questioned practice with some wondering if it’s really necessary?
While pushing our clocks ahead an hour in the Spring feels fine, in the Fall, we lose an hour of evening daylight just as we are adjusting to shorter days. Daylight Savings Time routines and dates also vary from country to country, causing confusion, increased jet lag and business interruptions.
In addition to putting strain on our internal clocks, DST also takes a toll on workplace productivity each Spring and Fall. Time clocks manufactured between the 70s and mid-90s often had mechanical moving parts which resulted in DST being one of the busiest time of the year for time clock companies and service technicians. It was also a day employers and owners came to dread, facing incorrect clocks until a technician came to the rescue, and countless late employees. Even as electronic and computerized clock technology evolved in the early 2000s, auto-DST features were still not mainstream.
Today, most clock systems, data collectors and software adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time. Yet there are still many individual wall clocks —often found in schools, hospitals, factories and places of business that do not adjust automatically like synchronized wall clocks.
There is a common misconception is that synchronized wall clocks are too expensive for an organization to replace their wall clocks. However, dealing with incorrect clocks can have a deep impact of its own. Inaccurate clocks can cause errors in hospitals, confusion in classrooms, delays on productions lines or lost time for businesses.
Some theories suggest that doing away with Daylight Savings Time would have little impact and experts claim that DST does not save us energy or money. One study even found an increased health risk associated with the time change. A 2012 study by Martin Young, University of Alabama at Birmingham Associate Professor, found that the risk of heart attack surges by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead an hour each spring.
There is no question that Daylight Savings Time is an antiquated practice. So is getting rid of it the answer? Without Daylight Savings Time, we could forget about the burden of adjusting our clocks twice a year and avoid any of the confusion that comes with the seasonal switching.