It’s Monday morning, and one day past the North American time-change back from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. As is now the norm twice a year there’s the whining and complaining about how annoying and pointless these time changes are, and opinions being spouted from people as to whether we should all just remain on Standard Time, or permanently move to Daylight Savings Time, or just continue with the status quo.

This issue has gotten a little more attention this year here in British Columbia, as last week our Premier, John Horgan, was asked at a media event about his position on the twice yearly time change, and replied that he’s seriously considering it.

Not just this, but last week a special commission in the state of Massachusetts voted a recommendation to permanently keep the state on Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4). Not that this is going to happen, but it’s being recommended at least.

Personally, I am of the opinion that increasing the fragmentation of regions that retain their clocks permanently in one time zone is going to make things difficult with the rest of North America who mostly still make the switch twice yearly.

Really, I’m looking at this with a business perspective, as I don’t feel that affected by the shifting of the clocks.

This stems on from a personal ‘niggle’ I have with people who continually say PST/MST/CST/EST despite the fact they may be on PDT/MDT/CST/EDT – and there are a lot of people in the business world that do that. When arranging times to get with a customer to do whatever needs to be done, meeting/calendar invites are not always sent, and people just give a time instead.

So, let’s say (hypothetically) that BC decides in 2018 to remain on PST after the spring time change, while the rest of Canada and the US (except a few places) move forward an hour. A customer says in an email “Let’s do X at 11am PST.”

Now you have to go back to them and say do they really mean PST or actually PDT? Because now that actually matters.

Already this happens with time changes in other parts of the world compared to N.America. There have been a number of meetings that people turned up to at the wrong time because of hours shifting. Usually that just lasts for a week or two, but with this we’re now talking months of potential confusion.

The other part of this is that I work doing technical support, and it’s known by our customers that we staff during the hours of 8am to 5pm Pacific. But say BC remains on PST all year around. That now means that 8am PDT is 7am PST, and we don’t have people in the office at that time. So do we now have to try and staff for that one hour earlier? It would be a similar issue if BC remained on PDT all year, but at the other end of the day. People would leave at 5pm PDT in December, but it’s still 4pm PST then.

At the moment, the only major areas that do not use DST in Canada or the continental US are Saskatchewan and  Arizona. There’s a scattering of smaller areas that don’t observe DST either, but there aren’t any major centres where we have customers in those areas.

I would be curious to hear from folks in those areas who work in business that deal with customers in other time zones what their experiences are with time.

For now, I think that if provinces/states decide to ‘go it alone’ with deciding to remain on just one time zone through the year, it will just lead to a fair amount of confusion. Better to try and get everyone to try and do one thing – which is asking a lot.

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