According to Reuters and several other major news outlets, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that his entire country will remain on daylight savings time while other European nations move their clocks back one hour in October.
It’s easy to think of time management as a personal or small-group subject, applying tips and strategies to your own situation or those of your business. In fact, we encourage this approach. But what happens when an entire nation switches its schedule?
This is not the first time that Medvedev or Russia has acted to manipulate time. As the article states, the number of time zones in the country has already been reduced by two, which caused controversy among some citizens but overall has had little negative effect.
With the latest announcement, the Russian government is issuing statements from scientists to support the decision. They report that sudden time changes negatively impact pollution and people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, who experience increased rates of depression in darker, winter months. The new policy is estimated to increase the effective amount of daylight people see by seven to seventeen percent, depending on where they live.
Should governments be in the business of time management? While repeatedly changing policies can hurt business across the board, the institution of smart policies can in certain cases help.
The effects of the new Russian rules won’t be known until they actually take place. It is also not clear from the current coverage whether the Russian Federation will choose to implement the policy permanently or is simply trying something new.
Fortunately, the move to virtual teams and cloud-based collaboration will reduce the negative impact felt by many businesses. Managers and workers within such teams are already used to handling time zone differences, and automated clocks and software can be easily adjusted to reflect the Russian change.
As companies and workforces become more and more international, the particular differences between regions have less effect on productivity overall. So it’s a good idea to continue using time-saving tips and strategies that work for you, while staying mindful of changes that can impact your business long-term.