Daylight Saving Time and HR Drama

Laurie Ruettimann Audacious Ideas, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Laurie Ruettimann, Leadership

If you are an American, you are probably tired.

Today is the first Monday of daylight saving time (DST), which allows most of our country to gain an extra hour of sunlight. Who doesn’t like sunlight? We just have to move the clock an hour forward. It’s so easy!

I don’t think it’s a problem, but apparently I’m a fool. Some people call this process “hot garbage.” Others note that DST causes car accident rates to increase. Parents complain that daylight saving time wreaks havoc on a schedule.

Regardless of how it makes you feel on a personal level, HR professionals are about to endure the impact of sleepy and cranky workers. What are you going to do about it?

Well, it’s worth noting that most of your colleagues were probably exhausted before they lost an hour of sleep on Sunday. Let’s be honest. Nobody with kids under the age of 12 is fully awake.

And while accident rates increase due to the time change, anybody who’s worked in HR for more than a hot minute knows that accident rates go up for random reasons — NCAA tournaments, Katy Perry political endorsements, or because your mom is in town. If you are concerned about accidents at work, it’s time to recommit to that sad-sack of a team you call your safety committee

If you are the type of HR person who likes to be helpful, here’s your opportunity.

  • Daylight saving time offers you a chance to be attentive to the needs of your employees.
  • Remind your workforce to change the batteries on their smoke detectors.
  • In fact, be a good HR leader and give out smoke detectors. I bet you can get them wholesale from your employee recognition company.

Here’s another crazy idea — now that the sun is out longer, implement flextime policies so your employees can spend time outside with their friends and families. Also, whatever happened to that 2011 wellness initiative to lower healthcare costs by making your workforce less chubby and more active? One way you can get people moving is to encourage them to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather.

Daylight saving time can be a royal pain in the butt, or it can be a moment where HR shows some leadership. Ditch the drama and challenge your colleagues to engage in a healthy conversation about work-life balance, tough choices, and personal accountability for getting some rest. Human resources professionals can’t do anything about daylight saving time or society-wide sleep deprivation, but we can lead by example and create an atmosphere where the safety and well-being of our workforce matters throughout the year.

Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.