Springing Forward Not Like Falling Back

Jim Luff
Posted on March 16, 2010
Time changes affect scheduling and raise questions
By now your body is probably getting adjusted to getting up and hour earlier than you did last week. I always find it easier to gain an extra hour of sleep in the fall than losing that hour of sleep in the spring. As long as we have been changing the time, with each change comes some minor confusion and of course the clients that try to take advantage in the fall when their run ends at 2 a.m., but all of a sudden, it officially becomes 1 a.m., so the client thinks he gets an extra hour. That is easily cleared up by reminding them how many hours they paid for and asking if they would like to purchase an additional hour of time.
In reality, the official time change is 2 a.m. This is because in most states bars stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m., so by officially changing the time at 2 a.m., it minimizes a disruption in the bar industry because technically they have stopped serving alcohol at 1:59 a.m. But many people believe and act as if the time change occurs at midnight.
The can disrupt dispatcher schedules. Considering that I have a 5 p.m. to midnight shift, it clearly throws a fly in the ointment. The guy that was working until midnight sees midnight come and all of a sudden it is 11 p.m. in his mind, so his seven-hour shift becomes an eight-hour shift. That’s where the problem arises. The person who is supposed to work at midnight now might think that since it is technically 11 p.m., he has another hour before work starts, including one of my chauffeurs that had a run end at 11:30 p.m. but was scheduled for a 12:30 a.m. pickup to go until 2:30 a.m. So, in his mind, he finishes at 11:30 p.m., and 30 minutes later, it is 11 p.m. again and he has an hour and a half before his next run instead of one hour in between. Fortunately, we had a discussion about this, so we cleared up the myth that time changes at midnight and that the bar he was picking up from would be operating on the same time clock from the start of business that day. It was also unlikely that the client being pickup up at the bar was going to reset his watch at the stroke of midnight.
In my wife’s industry as a 911 dispatcher, there really is no official closing time and the dispatchers work on one of two shifts. They either come in at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. For them, this truly is a problem because at 2 a.m. they reset the clocks.
Those dispatchers that are on duty in the spring actually catch a break and work an 11-hour shift instead of the normal 12-hour shift, but in the fall they are forced to work a 13-hour shift as their relief dispatchers set their clocks back before going to bed and begin operating on the new time schedule at 6 a.m.
Then of course you always must worry about your dispatchers and clients that work and travel on Sunday following the time change. Did they remember? Are we going to show up an hour late because a chauffeur forgot to change his clock to match the new time on Sunday? It is certainly worth a phone call to make sure. I have learned that over the years.

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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