Least Productive Time Of Day: When Do Office Workers Zone Out The Most?
The least productive time of day for office workers has been confirmed: 2:55 p.m. is the very minute when most employees start to mentally clock out.
According to a new poll from LondonOffices.com, a group that provides services to office space owners, mid-afternoon is when the text messages about post-work plans start flying, and when employees are most distracted by non-work related Internet content (how many cats-on-treadmills videos have you forwarded today?). Mashable reports that 3:00 p.m. is also when Facebook experiences the biggest spike in usage.
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Coincidence? We think not.
To determine the least productive time of day in the office, researchers at LondonOffices.com surveyed more than 400 workers about their workday habits and found that the "peaks and troughs" of a person's day followed a relatively uniform pattern.
"Often if people have a burst of energy and get a shed load of work done in one hour, they maybe underperform for the next two," Michael Davis of LondonOffices.com told Metro.
Davis and his team found that office workers are most productive around 10:26 a.m., right as that first cup of coffee begins to course through the bloodstream. Then, at about 2:55 p.m., following lunch, workers' productivity takes a nosedive. It picks up again around 4:16 p.m. -- the result of office workers making that final spring towards the finish line in order to leave work on time.
So is there a logical explanation for this mid-afternoon lull?
According to family physician Kristi Leong, it's your body's physiological response to eating a big lunch. "When too much food is consumed during lunch hour, more blood gets diverted to the intestines to help digest your meal which can leave you feeling drained and unmotivated," she wrote in a post for Yahoo Voices.
Much of it, too, depends on the body's Cortical and Cortisone, hormones responsible for controlling stress. Forbes reports that when your Cortical and Cortisone levels are elevated - usually following ingestion of things like caffeine, sugar and processed food - you're more alert. A few hours later, however, when those levels return to normal, you become lethargic.
So how can office workers combat afternoon fatigue?
Leong suggests taking a brisk, 10 minute walk after eating lunch. "The brisk movement can help to jump-start your energy level for the afternoon work ahead," she wrote. "When you return to your office, open the windows and let the sun shine in. Light helps to elevate mood and increase motivation. Try popping a piece of sugar-free, peppermint gum into your mouth to chew throughout the afternoon. The minty, fresh flavor will help to keep you awake."
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