On Sunday, the 30th of October, at 2 am, the clocks will go back one hour to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), marking the end of British Summer Time (BST). Reverting to standard time might mean your business is trading for an extra hour this Sunday. For the night owls in the business community, having a card machine for your business will allow you to utilise the extra trading hour and take more payments. This small one-hour boost in consumer spending for businesses such as nightclubs, takeaways, and taxis will be a massive benefit amidst the UK’s current economic climate. Only some people, however, benefit from the impending revert back to GMT.
Clocks’ annual leaping and falling have a long history: is it now an outdated practice?
Initially introduced in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, it was in 1907 that the idea of daylight-saving time was given seriously considered. William Willett, a British builder, saw we weren’t utilising the daylight of summer mornings and self-published “The Waste of Daylight”. Willet’s proposal was largely ignored until 1916 when Germany, during the First World War, became the first country to implement daylight saving time, with Britain following suit weeks later. Daylight saving time as a practice has adapted and changed in the subsequent one-hundred-and-fifteen years.
It was in 1972 that the British Summer Time Act was created and cemented in our lives. Only to be tweaked in 2002 to align with other European countries. The EU stipulates clocks change the last Sunday in March, leaping forward, meaning, to our dismay, we lose one hours sleep. This is then reversed on the last Sunday of October with the clocks falling back and righting the wrong that is one hour of missed sleep by giving us an extra hour of slumber on a cold winter’s morning.
The benefits of changing our clocks have long been debated. Now many question whether this practice of painstakingly changing our clocks in our cars twice a year should be abolished. The hours going back means some employees work an extra hour for free. If a healthcare professional is scheduled to work from 7 pm to 7 am, they will work an additional hour.
Is it time to leave our clocks alone?
Many arguments for and against abolishing of the clocks changing work to cancel each other out. An argument against the clocks leaping forward in March is that it leads to decreased productivity from the sudden disruption and reduction of sleep. Is this resolved when we enjoy an extra hour of sleep in October, leading to increased productivity of our workforce? The clocks going back this Sunday mean lighter mornings for our children heading to school, making their commute safer. But what about their journey home? With road casualties at their peak between 3 pm and 7 pm, further, increased by dark evenings and worse weather conditions. Should we not be making the journey home from school lighter?
On the topic of children, young children are blissfully unaware of the concept of time. They don’t look at the clock when they wake up and decide whether it’s a suitable time to get up. Changing clocks disrupts the routines of children who still get hungry and tired and the time they are used to. The same goes for our beloved household pets. How will we explain to our hungry cats and dogs that their dinner has been pushed back or forward?
British Standard Time is so last season…
In the climate of higher energy costs, households would financially benefit from the extra hour of light in the evening. Leaving work to complete darkness in colder months may stifle any desire to socialise after leaving the office. For many people working between 8 am and 6 pm, they may only see little daylight during the week. The lack of sunlight can activate and subsequently trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In upcoming weeks employers should check in with their employees regarding their mental health as the season transitions. The lack of sunlight hinders the part of the brain, the hypothalamus, from working correctly. Consequently, the production of melatonin and serotonin is affected. It also disrupts our bodies’ circadian rhythm. The sunlight that guides our bodies to wake up in the morning is no longer there.
The takeaway for employers is to discuss how the changing of both the clock and the seasons are affecting their employees in the upcoming weeks. We are creatures of habit, and these, disruptions will affect employees differently. If your business is trading for an additional hour this Sunday, ensure you have a card machine for your business to take an extra hour’s worth of card payments.