Daylight Saving Time: How to Cope at Work


The Monday after Daylight Saving Time starts in most of the United States (and much of Canada) is a day of grumbling — or of cheering, depending who you talk to.

For those of us who crave more light in the late afternoon and evening, It’s a great feeling to suddenly see more sunlight after work.

But waking up that morning can be hard, especially since most of us are still adjusting to having lost an hour over the weekend. And that loss of sleep is not trivial when you look at it on a large scale.

As professors David T. Wagner and Christopher M. Barnes pointed out in The New York Times, they “found a spike in workplace injuries of nearly 6 percent on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time” in U.S. miners, along with an increase in the severity of those injuries.

They also found that “cyberloafing,” or procrastinating at work by surfing online, increases on that day as well, resulting in a massive amount of lost productivity for companies — nearly half a billion dollars worth.

So if Daylight Saving Time is observed where you live, or in countries where your colleagues are based — check out the complete list of countries and start dates — be sure to keep reading for our top tips to battle the temporary effects of losing an hour of sleep and adjusting to a new daily rhythm.

Brew the Best Coffee Ever

A good cup of coffee or an intense espresso can really make a difference. At the Silicon Valley Redbooth office, we’re proud to have a beautiful Izzo machine for brewing intense and balanced espresso. If you’ve wondered about all of the components that go into a perfect shot of espresso, this detailed description on Quora is a great place to start.

For a less detailed but beautifully photographed step-by-step walkthrough, check out Blue Bottle Coffee’s guide. Just keep their disclaimer in mind: “We believe that there is no such thing as the perfect shot — only an exponentially exciting (and humbling) goose chase toward perfection.”

If Coffee’s Not an Option…

Huffington Post associate business editor Alexander C. Kaufman recently documented his own unique approach to staying alert at work, coffee-free: “How I Stay Awake at Work Without Drinking Coffee.”

Techniques that worked well for him: include drinking plenty of green tea, avoiding the dreaded food coma, and spontaneous exercise breaks, including jumping jacks in the office bathroom!

Borrow Tips From New Parents

If anyone knows about going to work sleep-deprived, it’s parents of new babies. BabyCentre offers some realistic tips on getting through the day on not enough sleep that apply to new parents, or to anyone who comes in exhausted and groggy from sleep deprivation.

Start the day with some water to stay hydrated and wake up your system, they suggest. See if you can open a window at work for some fresh air. Let your colleagues know that you’re sleepy and ask if they can bear with you. And if all else fails….follow the example of a baby (and not a sleep-deprived parent), and go ahead and take a nap.

Think Outside the Box

When you’re sleep-deprived, though, it’s easy to get contrary and resist sensible solutions (like taking a nap). Never fear — there are options for even the crankiest sleep-deprived colleague!

Play a challenging or scary video game (see Gizmodo’s “How to Survive On as Little Sleep Possible”) or start a lively conversation with a coworker about politics (one of 10 tips at WebMD’s “How to Stay Awake Naturally.”)

Or if you’re feeling more mellow, you can take the advice of The Daily Mind’s “How to Stay Awake at Work When You Are Really Tired” — and stream some jazz, with its unpredictable musical sequences.

And What About That Blinking Clock?

If you’ve got a blinking digital clock that’s driving you crazy, there’s hope, even if you can’t remember how to reset it! Use this helpful tip from Lifehacker: “Reset the Clock You Forgot How to Set by Timing for 12:00.” It’s simple: just wait until midnight and then hit reset. Done!

Photo by Margot Pandone.