We turned our clocks ahead an hour yesterday and Daylight Saving (no “s”!) Time is upon us. Hopefully, you checked the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors too. There are some funny things about Daylight Saving and they’re instructive for business as well.
First, as with many things in business, the origins of DST are widely misreported. There is a collective myth that Benjamin Franklin invented it when, in fact, he only commented back in 1784 that the French (he was in Paris) could save a lot of money if they’d awaken earlier. He proposed a change in sleep schedules, not in the time. The real father of modern DST is an Englishman, who had the idea and campaigned for it in the early 20th century (Germany implemented it in 1916, the first country to do so).
Second, the reasoning behind it is commonly misunderstood. Many people believe that it was to benefit farmers when, in fact, it was a wartime measure. Farmers don’t especially like it and they work by the sun anyway. In fact, farmers led the fight to repeal DST in 1919. It doesn’t save energy and it does seem to lead to more strokes and heart attacks.
So the “who” and the “why” are not correctly understood and yet we continue to have DST in many places (interesting that it’s not universal, even within the USA). I bring this up because it seems as if there is beginning to be a discussion about why we have DST at all. Which leads to the business point.
So many things in business happen just because “that’s how things are done.” Why they’re done that way is often misunderstood and who is behind the process or practice is often misidentified. There is rarely, if ever, a questioning and reevaluation, but like Daylight Saving, maybe it’s an anachronism that causes more problems than it solves. Thoughts?