Setting Your Clock For The Future In The BPO Industry

man checking time on watch

The good ‘ol “spring forward” and “fall back” seasons of daylight saving time. Have you ever been excited to go to work an hour earlier?

Neither has anyone else in modern times, as the antiquated practice is losing its purpose in today’s world. 

With it potentially being the last year for daylight saving time (DST) in the US, business process outsourcing companies and customer care centers in other parts of the world will no longer have to have their shifts adjusted twice every year.

Oh, by the way, it’s daylight saving time, not daylight savings time, there’s no “S” after saving, it’s not plural.

woman holding tiny clock
What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight saving time or DST is a system for uniformly advancing time in order to extend daylight hours during the summer months, effectively conserving electricity. At the end of March or beginning of April, clocks are moved forward by 1 hour and then set back an hour at the end of September or beginning of October. An easy way to remember it is with the seasons, Spring forward (add an hour) and Fall back (remove an hour). 

Contrary to popular belief, it was never made for farmers. In fact, farmers opposed the idea, but it was a wartime effort to conserve energy in more urban areas. The first recorded implementation of DST happened on April 30, 1916, when Germany and Austria changed the time for their war efforts. Other parts of Europe soon adopted this change and the US followed suit in 1918.

Without a world war going on and no definitive proof of DST actually saving energy anymore, there really isn’t a need for DST. In 2006, the state of Indiana completely switched to DST and experienced a rise in electricity usage due to more air conditioners being used during the summer.

In a study led by Jeff Dowd, 67 electric utilities across the US were measured while DST was extended by 4 weeks. The conclusion was that 0.5% of the nation’s energy was saved, which translates to 1.3 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. These studies are not conclusive, as the climate in each state will impact energy usage, especially during the hotter summer months.

One man in the middle and two women beside the men, checking time on man's watch
Who Observes DST?

So who will be setting their clocks back or setting their clocks forward this year?

For starters, the majority of the US observes DST, with the exception of Hawaii and the majority of Arizona. The only part of Arizona that observes DST is the Navajo Nation.

Across the pond, in the European Union (EU) most countries will be setting their clocks forward for DST. The exceptions being Russia, Belarus, and Iceland. Russia tried to permanently switch to “summer time,” or permanent DST in 2011 and a plethora of health issues were blamed on the switch, resulting in Russia having permanent winter time (setting clocks back an hour) on October 26, 2014.

America's Senate BuildingSenate Bill 623

In the US, Senate Bill 623 or the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, is a move to make daylight saving time permanent. It was unanimously passed in the Senate on March 15, 2022 but awaits processing in the House. If it passes in the House, it only needs the President’s signature to become a law.

If passed, DST will end on November 6, 2023, 2 AM local time in all states. This means that in March of 2023, people will still be setting clocks forward, they just won’t be setting them back come November.

colleagues looking at computerChanging Time Within A BPO

Time management is an important part of any job, regardless of the industry. This is compounded for BPOs as they oftentimes are overseas. In general, the countries outsourcing centers are located in, don’t follow DST, meaning their employees have to change shifts in order to keep up with their clients.

Customer care agents, otherwise known as customer service representatives, have a history of changing their shifts once DST occurs in their respective client’s regions.

Throughout their existence, there have been two shifts for a majority of BPO employees. This means that even though their home country doesn’t have DST, BPO employees are required to follow the timeshift in order to keep up with their client’s needs.

If you have staff in a BPO or are planning to have staff, there is no real transition into DST, as most staff will have prior experience with the setup and will require no real adjustment. In the case of adjustments, the only thing different for your BPO staff would be the date the time changes, as moving from a client in one part of the world to another would be the only way to have this changed.

The Wrap Up

With all the changes surrounding DST, the US, barring two states, and the whole of the BPO industry waits patiently for any changes. The schedules of everyone involved, namely those in the US and those working for US based-clients will change forever.

Regardless of the outcome, work will still move forward, it would just be easier on everyone affected by DST if it were to end, as it would rid the need to shift your entire schedule twice a year.

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