Ending Daylight Savings Time Will Give Businesses a Much Needed Break

Laveta Brigham

I’ll be the first to say that coming changes to Daylight Saving Time are insignificant compared to the upheaval from Covid-19. But changes are coming. It’s time to think about time. I started the #LockTheClock movement six years ago writing blog posts complaining about how I didn’t like the change. […]

I’ll be the first to say that coming changes to Daylight Saving Time are insignificant compared to the upheaval from Covid-19. But changes are coming.

It’s time to think about time.

I started the #LockTheClock movement six years ago writing blog posts complaining about how I didn’t like the change. Now there’s been a groundswell of research and legislative action both at the state level — where more than a dozen states have enacted savings time reform — and at the federal level where two different bills built remarkable bipartisan support, the Senate’s Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 and the House’s Daylight Act. Businesses and industries are getting much more involved as well. While there’s been talk about fixing Daylight Savings Time for a long while, it now seems likely that we are at the tipping point where legislation is finally going to get passed. With change so close to happening, it’s time for business to take this topic seriously. 

Research has now made clear the significant public-health issues around changing the clock, something politicians can no longer ignore. Heart attacks, strokes, workplace accidents and much more all spike in the days after the spring change, when the government yanks an hour out of our collective sleep and forces the alarm clock to go off earlier than our bodies are expecting, as well as increases in depression because it gets dark earlier relative to the work day.

Also, most people and businesses prefer a permanent move to the time used in the summer, something made clear by the fact that while federal law allows states to move to the time used in the winter, no state has done so since Arizona made that choice in 1968. More than a dozen states, however, have taken legislative steps in the last two years to move permanently to the time we use in the summer.

Time changes also affect the markets. One study showed that stock trading is more volatile on the Monday after the clock moves ahead in the spring. Another showed that investors overreact to new information on that Monday. 

Federal law mandates that every state either switch twice a year, or if it likes it can stay in Standard Time, which begins in 2020 on November 1st, year-round. That’s what Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico have decided. The states that have introduced or passed bills in the last three years that have attempted to chip away at the requirement that Standard Time is the only option. The bills seek to put states in permanent Daylight Saving Time which begins in March.

With all that in mind, businesses need to start preparing for the end of time changes and each sector will find different issues they need to handle.


Developers find coding in time changes to be one of the most annoying tasks they face, especially for global operations because the start and stop dates for switching time are not at all consistent around the world. When the U.S. stops clock-changing the rest of the world will likely follow suit. Luckily, ending the clock-changing will make software easier to build and deploy, but a thorough technical review will be necessary to make sure teams catch all the embedded time functions.

Airlines, rail, and other transportation businesses have taken a hands-off approach to advocating for any switch, but I have heard directly that they are adamant that they need at least a year of lead time to build in changes to their operations. 

Retail, Restaurant, and Outdoor Industries

More daylight, later in the day, is good for business. After being buffeted by Covid-19, any industry where sales can be directly tied to daylight needs help. This is not a new revelation. The term “Daylight Saving Time” was actually invented by people at Filenes, the famed Boston department store, before World War One. Lincoln Filene knew that if people had some daylight after work, they’d be more likely to go shopping. About 100 years later, his hunch was proved out in a study from the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

The story is much the same for outdoor restaurants, golf, and other recreational activities. It’s even true for the candy industry, which successfully lobbied to have the “Fall Back” switch moved in the U.S. from the last weekend of October to the first weekend of November to give kids more daylight for trick-or-treating.

Broadcast Live Action Television

As far as I can tell, there’s only one industry that sees earlier sunsets relative to the clock as a good thing: broadcast television; especially sports. To watch live television, viewers have to be inside, and not outside having fun or shopping. As less and less television gets consumed live, I expect this issue to fade, but live sports is still a huge industry, and we will likely see lobbyists defend any perceived threat against potential viewership. 

Industries Weirdly Not Involved

A coalition of insurance and finance companies, traffic and workplace safety organizations, tech associations, and others that would clearly benefit from eliminating the time change could join together with nonprofits that advocate on issues like heart health, strokes, mental health, pregnancy, addiction, sleep, and more. As yet they haven’t. Maybe that’s the next coalition that needs to form.

The political divisions in this country are so stark, and there is also a cultural divide between those in finance and those who think the financial industry is the chief driver of socio-economic harms. Fixing Daylight Saving Time is the one issue that would be good for Republicans and Democrats, stock traders, main street businesses, good for health, and good for any citizen who just doesn’t want to get jolted out of bed one Monday morning in Spring, or be plunged into darkness early in the afternoons in the fall. 

It is the very definition of a win-win. After the year we’ve all endured in 2020, isn’t it about time?

Scott Yates is a three-time software startup founder currently working to fix disinformation. He lives in Denver with his wife, son, mutt, and dictionary collection.

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