Early to Work, Early Back Home Banishes the Wintertime Blues
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Let’s be honest, falling back to standard time sucks when you work at an office. That extra hour gained over the weekend may have seemed like a gift, but it’s short lived as we pay for it with one less hour of sun every day during the winter. Before you know it, you'll be spending all of the daylight hours during the week indoors.
I've been wanting to find a way to ignore this “fall back” for years, but my only option was to move to an area with more consistent daylight. My theory is that life is just a bit better when you leave work with natural daylight. Apparently, I am not alone. There are studies to back up sticking with DST.
A recent article published in Time Magazine suggests that with the end of daylight savings time comes an increased danger of more accidents on the road, as more people head home in the dark. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association warns that it can take time to adjust to low-light driving, which makes this time of year more dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians.
The end of DST also brings along a rash of physical and emotional challenges as well. Even office productivity can take a hit this time of year because of it. The sudden change in schedule can actually cause us to lose sleep the week after the clock turns back. The sleep we do get is likely to be lower quality during the time change.
If that’s not bad enough, the lack of direct sunlight can cause our bodies to produce melatonin, which can make us feel draggy and tired. Getting home in the darkness may even decrease our total amount of physical activity. Both of which can drag down productivity (and cognitivity) at work.
So here’s the hack: don't adapt your work hours to standard time, keep them on daylight saving time. In other words, just keep doing what you are doing. Sure, you will be at work an hour earlier (according to the adjusted time), but your body and mind won't have to adapt to it actually being earlier. You will get more sunlight when you leave the office, giving you an extra hour to complete your after-work activities before it’s dark.
My company, Digital Telepathy, has been experimenting with this hack for the last week, shifting the start of our day from 9 am to 8 am. As a result, we haven’t felt the impact of the time change and instead have an extra hour in our day. The best part is, that hour is graced with delicious, vitamin D beaming sun, something we could all use more of.