Nick Ang

How to deal with Daylight savings at work

April 11, 2019

how to deal with daylight savings at work nick ang Photo by Djim Loic

Having been born and raised in Singapore, it took me close to 30 years to realise there was such a thing as Daylight savings. A snail under a rock is what I am.

I found out about Daylight savings only recently at work in Smartly.io where part of my job is to ensure we staff our 24/5 support chat with Smartlies. Everyone does support in the company, which is a really neat concept with some great outcomes for our users, but staffing shifts across our 15+ offices around the world is challenging.

Daylight savings certainly doesn’t help.

What is Daylight savings?

In case you’re like me, blissfully unaware of what Daylight savings is until now, here is a quick explanation.

Each year, certain regions around the world will shift their clocks by an hour. An hour forward and an hour backward, so that on the overall, no extra time is artificially created.

This is a coordinated effort among countries in each region. Broadly speaking, the 3 main regions that participate in this ritual are:

  • Americas
  • Europe
  • Australia and New Zealand

The rationale for this ritual is to save daylight for the end of a typical “9 to 5” workday. In places where the seasons cause the amount of daylight to vary throughout a year, this could be useful.

But for the record, it is not something we grapple with in Asia or any other places near the equator since there are no seasonal variations in daylight.

How to deal with Daylight savings the smart way

In practice, Daylight savings means people move their clocks by an hour. For most people who grew up in countries that observe Daylight savings, this is probably a routine. Someone at work casually tells you, “Hey, in case you haven’t already, remember to adjust your clock forward by an hour today. Daylight savings baby!”

But if you have something at work that relies on time, like organising support staffing for a global organisation, you may need to pre-empt these changes so that they don’t cause service disruptions.

The smart way to deal with this is actually very simple. I set up a few recurring calendar events on the company’s Google Calendar:

  • One for entering Daylight Savings Time in America
  • One for entering Daylight Savings Time in Europe
  • One for entering Daylight Savings Time in Australia/New Zealand
  • One for exiting Daylight Savings Time in America
  • One for exiting Daylight Savings Time in Europe
  • One for exiting Daylight Savings Time in Australia/New Zealand

For all regions, the exact time to adjust the clocks is usually either the first Sunday of a month or the second Sunday of a month. So I set these calendar events to be the 1st day of the region-specified month, with a notification 1 day in advance.

To really make sure that my team is alerted in advance of these changes and make modifications to our support staffing ahead of time, I added our google group as a guest to the event. (A google group contains a bunch of emails.)

So from now on, someone in the Service Operations team in Smartly.io will receive a calendar alert about an upcoming shift in clocks somewhere in the world, and make modifications accordingly, preventing any disruptions to our customer service!


Written by Nick - I don't know but I'll learn (twitter)

Nick Ang © 2020

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