Skip to content

Making the Most of the Daylight for SME Owners

We’re approaching the time of year when the clocks change – with spring on the way, that means that our clocks will go forward an hour at 01:00 am on Sunday, 31st March and any canny business owner will see this as an opportunity that can benefit their business.

The longer evenings are welcomed by many industries here in the UK, not just the tourism and leisure industry which enjoys an increase in profits as theme parks, piers and other tourist attractions benefit from the increased footfall during the lighter evenings.  Small to medium sized businesses across the UK are likely to experience a decrease in overheads resulting from lower energy bills in the summer months.  This is why there are so many advocates for adopting Daylight Saving Time (DST) on a year-round basis. 

You may be surprised to learn that we’re in the minority in Europe and America (where DST has been in practice for around a hundred years or so).  Most of the rest of the world does not use DST and the bi-annual clock changes can cause confusion in so many ways.  Travel can be disrupted as travel providers scramble to make the necessary adjustments to timetables and synchronise with the majority of the rest of the world.   Arranging meetings can be confusing, especially online meetings and phone calls with participants in different parts of the world. 

Advocates for adopting year-round DST cite the many benefits that this would bring:

  • The AA (Automobile Association) claims that around a hundred lives would be saved annually by avoiding traffic accidents on dark evenings in winter.
  • Doing business overseas would be easier and more straightforward if we stuck to the same time all year round – after all, time zones already affect business, so adding a layer of complication just adds to the problems.
  • An extra hour of evening sunlight in winter could save up to £485 million annually in energy bills around the UK.
  • Businesses in so many sectors would benefit from an increase in footfall during the lighter evenings as people are more likely to shop, go to cafes and visit local amenities before dark.
  • More than 80% of European citizens are in favour of permanent DST.

As a business owner, benefitting from the lighter evenings during the summer months could be a simple matter of staying open a little bit longer to make the most of the increase in shoppers on the high street.  For businesses that deal with customers or partners in Europe, permanent DST would make it easier to co-ordinate meetings and phone calls – at present most European countries also move their clocks, but not all do so which means checking for each individual country before making business arrangements.

All in all, most business owners would probably agree that putting the clocks forward on a year-round basis would bring advantages to their business in so many ways.  Who knows, perhaps, in future, we’ll synchronise with the 80% of the world that does not adjust the clocks and keep DST on a permanent basis.