Daylight Savings Time (DST) was created to save energy globally. However, over the past decade, it has become a topic of debate among politicians, businesses, and citizens in many countries that implement this time shift. With DST approaching, individuals who relish sleep will groan at the precious lost hour. And research suggests that businesses will bear the burden of that lost time. David T. Wagner of the Organizational and Behavior and Human Resources Area at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business in Singapore believes that the 1 hour of lost sleep causes employees to be significantly less productive immediately following the shift to DST. Cyberloafing is a term used to describe unproductive work time. Lost productivity in the workplace used to be attributed to long lunch breaks, too much time at the water cooler, or personal phone calls on business time. But in this modern world, cyberloafing is the direct result of personal searches (non–business related) on the Internet. Wagner recently conducted a study to determine if the sleep disruption caused by DST results in increased cyberloafing.
Wagner analyzed data from the Monday preceding DST and the Monday immediately following DST over a 6-year period. He found that employees who had access to a computer engaged in significantly more cyberloafing the Monday after DST than the Monday before. However, he also discovered that in highly conscientious participants, the disruption in sleep did not increase the level of cyberloafing. The findings suggest that lost sleep negatively impacts work productivity. Many managers will push employees harder when productivity is down, thus causing them to lose more sleep, and ultimately, be less productive. Wagner believes the key to breaking this cycle is for employers to be aware of the effects of DST and ensure that their employees are given the opportunity, via breaks or downtime, to get the rest they need. Tired, unproductive employees can influence the climate and mood of the entire organization and lead to conflict, harassment, and even unethical activities. Wagner added, “Thus, we encourage policy makers to revisit the costs and benefits of implementing DST, and we encourage managers to consider how they can facilitate greater employee self-regulation by ensuring that employees get good sleep.”
Wagner, D. T., Barnes, C. M., Lim, V. K. G., & Ferris, D. L. (2012). Lost Sleep and Cyberloafing: Evidence From the Laboratory and a Daylight Saving Time Quasi-Experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0027557
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