Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting clocks forward one hour from standard time during summer months, and back again in the fall, to make better use of natural daylight. There is much debate about the sense/nonsense of DST. This blog is not intended to start another discussion on the subject, but merely to point out the possible implications in a planner’s situation. As a planner, the change to/from DST can have several consequences:
Although the shift may be planned for 8 hours (e.g. 22:00 – 06:00 Hr), the actual working time may only be 7 hours or extended to 9 hours due to resetting the clock in the middle of the night. There are several solutions for this “problem”. You as a planner should know which solution is used by your company to be able to answer questions from the employees you are scheduling.
When on early shifts, people have a habit of going to bed earlier. This, however, does not necessarily mean that they will fall asleep earlier, especially when starting an early shift sequence. The new work rhythm usually grows on you as you go along and is likely to increase your sleep time as days go by. It is therefore good practice not to schedule someone on a first but rather on a last early shift after a switch to DST to avoid (more) fatigue due to lack of sleep. An hour less sleep is an hour less.
This is an issue that occurs mainly in the (air) transport sector, where it is common practice to plan duties with minimum rest in between. This issue is generally addressed by network planning for scheduled services, but in the case of ad hoc (usually last-minute) charters, the change to DST may have been overlooked. An unexpected delay of one hour is not only an operational nuisance for the transport company, but will also look very bad towards the customer, commercially speaking.
Although this is not really a planning issue, you may find it useful to send your employees a message to remind them of the change to/from DST. Not everyone watches the news or reads newspapers.
If you are planning in an international environment, you should keep track of the exact dates of occurrence for all countries involved. An excellent website to do this is www.timeanddate.com.
As a planner, you are working with time. Therefore, you should be very much aware of the existence of DST. Although DST is not really a big issue for planners, it is worthwhile keeping it in the back of your head, as you may be faced with questions/issues when planning people on/after DST change dates. There is a tendency in Europe towards scrapping DST, but it is very likely DST will remain in use somewhere on this planet.