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Daylight Savings Time: WATCH OUT!

Rock Regan is director of the public service practice group at Kronos, a leader in workforce management. A former chief information officer (CIO) for the State of Connecticut and former president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), he is widely recognized as an expert in the public sector IT industry. He contacted us recently with some interesting thoughts about the impact of daylight savings time, beginning on March 12, on public sector workers. Here’s what he had to say:

“Employees and employers may not realize that the time shift – even just an hour – has a significant impact on workforce productivity during this week. On average, Americans lose between 40 minutes and an hour of sleep the Monday after we “spring forward,” and those lost rapid eye movement (REM) cycles can result in a tired and less productive workforce.

“In the public sector, where mission-critical jobs such as police and firefighters are essential for public safety, employers must take the necessary steps to ensure that their workers have the tools and support to mitigate the issues of adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. Following are tips to ensure workforce productivity.

  • Offer guidance from health experts or share resources: Remind workers several days ahead about the time change and associated productivity and safety risks due to disturbances to circadian rhythms and sleep. Research from Dr. Claire Caruso, a research health scientist at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, shows that people assimilate better to Daylight Savings if, starting about three days before, they gradually move up the timing of awakening and sleeping  by 15-20 minutes each day until these are in line with the new time.

  • Empower Employees with Self-Service: Employees, both workers and supervisors, should be encouraged to feel empowered in the process of requesting shift changes. If a police officer is running late due to the time change, s/he can use a mobile device to view his/her schedule, and ask another qualified police officer who has the same skills, certifications, and pay codes to cover the shift.

  • Keep Employees Engaged: If you have automated important employee centric processes, lean on those more this week. Minimizing errors in critical functions such as payroll go a long way at all times to boost employee engagement and productivity.”


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