The clocks go back, Rotaready marches forward

in Announcements, Technology on October 23, 2016

Next week will mark a century since Daylight Savings Time (specifically British Summer Time, BST) was introduced in the UK.

The clocks changing every March and October actually mark a shift in timezone. In fact, timezones are one of a number of factors in what we call a ‘locale’ in Rotaready – and a locale defines the configuration of a particular region.

In this article I’ll talk you through how our attention to locales allows seamless use for a business with sites across different parts of the world…

William Willet
Daylight Savings Time is the brainchild of William Willet

The man behind the clocks changing twice a year was one William Willet, a prominent Edwardian builder who’d been urging the Government to adopt his idea since 1907. His reasoning was simple: such a scheme would save energy costs as more time would be spent in daylight hours. Daylight Savings Time was finally adopted in 1916 during the First World War, with the target of reducing domestic coal consumption and freeing up valuable resources for the war effort.

100 years on, the benefits aren’t quite so clear cut. Those in favour argue longer daylight hours improves energy consumption and workforce morale whilst reducing crime and car accidents. Those against argue the energy savings are simply offset with extra air conditioning in offices during warmer evenings, and that darker mornings are more dangerous for children walking to school. Either way, it looks like Daylight Savings Time is here to stay.

Why does this matter for Rotaready?

Naturally, with staff scheduling, there’s a huge amount of information based on specific times of day. The exact start & finish times of each shift. Availability patterns. Templates (for automated scheduling, in which rotas are built automatically in seconds).

A date-agnostic time like ‘7am’ has to respect the timezone of a particular day. For example, two shifts both scheduled to start at 7am, one next Saturday (in BST) and one next Sunday (in GMT, after the clocks have changed) are not 24 hours apart.

When the clocks change, there’s a huge amount of diligence in Rotaready that ensures time-specific data respects the appropriate timezone. However, it’s not just timezone that’s at play here…

What else is related to timezone?

TimezonesWhen you think of timezones, you’re probably more likely to think about the jet-lag of holiday travels than the clocks changing in the UK. But it’s the same principle.

Holidays are a good example to use here – if you’ve travelled far away enough to be jet lagged, you’ll have used a different currency, perhaps stumbled through guidebook phrases of another language and experienced an economy with different social tax rates (like Employers National Insurance) and working time regulations (like the EU Working Time Directive) to what we have in the UK.

Rotaready locales

We’ve wrapped these parameters up in Rotaready into what we call a ‘locale’. This means that wherever your business is based, times will always appear accurately for your timezone, wage costs will always reflect the true impact of local taxes, and staff will be subjected to the appropriate working regulations.

Exchange ratesThis gets particularly interesting with a business with sites across countries, potentially in different locales. Being able to view aggregated data in Rotaready HQ is one of our most in-demand features. Calculating cross-site data (such as sales and wages) will reference the correct locale for each site and subtotal across individual currencies. This gives a huge amount of reporting ability and provides unprecedented ways to compare sites from other regions like-for-like.

So, this time next week when you’re faced with the shock of waking in pitch darkness, spare a thought for us at Rotaready who’ve toiled to ensure your data appears completely as you’d expect!

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