Does springing forward into Daylight Savings Time (DST) every March affect our work habits and our health? Research suggests that the annual one-hour shift in our time clock can have a negative impact on both.
Introduced almost 100 years ago as a way to conserve energy, DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. However, what we may be gaining in energy, we may be losing to workplace accidents and productivity.
With employees getting an average of 40 minutes less sleep on the first Sunday of DST, studies show that workplace injuries are not only more frequent on the Monday following DST, but they are also more severe.
There is also evidence that employees’ lack of sleep contributes to their inability to self-regulate behaviors, which leads them to spend more time on personal Web surfing resulting in a decrease in overall workplace productivity.
Fortunately, there are steps managers can take before the start of DST to minimize its negative effects at the office. Having more caffeine on hand, adding music, brightening up the workplace environment and planning some special events can all lead to happier staff and greater productivity.
Nothing helps reenergize people better than a dose of caffeine – or maybe even two. Stocking up on different flavors and varieties of coffee for employees can help preempt the fatigue that often occurs at the onset of DST. Enlist their ideas for favorite javas and accompaniments to encourage a quick pick-me-up any time of day. Be sure to keep extra cleanup supplies on hand since more beverages can lead to more spills.
Making some changes to workspaces is an easy way to increase productivity. Liven up the office with a fresh coat of paint and some green plants. Encouraging employees to declutter desks and add their favorite photographs will also create an environment that people will never want to leave.
Creating a playlist can be a great way to stifle unwanted noises and increase focus levels in the office. Try classical tunes to boost concentration or the relaxing sounds of the outdoors such as ocean waves or rainstorms. Encourage staff members to bring in their own playlists to share on occasion.
Planning special team building activities before DST can unite employees around common goals, generate greater productivity, and give them something to look forward to as well.
An outdoor scavenger hunt can help foster cooperation and trust among staff members. In addition to boosting morale, the fresh air and exercise will help them feel invigorated and ready to accomplish anything.
Host an office tailgate party. A weekend cookout with coworkers may be just the activity they need to reconnect and build a sense of enthusiasm in the office. Whether you get together in a stadium lot before a big game, or you meet right in your own company parking lot, sharing food and down time are effective ways to increase your office team spirit.
Volunteer your organization for a charitable event. Whether it’s building a house for Habitat for Humanity, organizing a clothing drive, or serving meals to the less fortunate, there are numerous ways to work together for a good cause and instill a sense of unity too.
Having a plan in place for the arrival of DST can reduce negative effects while motivating employees and improving productivity within your organization.
What are some of the ways you and your coworkers have boosted alertness and morale in the wake of DST? What do you plan to do once it’s time to “spring forward”? Let us know in the comments below!