Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is Sunny Weather Bad for Productivity?

With the sun shining brilliantly and the weather still warm, I have recently found myself more motivated to get outside than to get any work done this summer. Judging by the RSS feeds of my favorite blogs, I am not the only blogger suffering from a lack of productivity this summer. Curious about whether this phenomena was real or a fabricated excuse to work less, I went in search of scientific evidence. Not only were my suspicions about warm weather productivity correct, but I was pleasantly surprised by the industry suggestion - combat summer laziness with flexible work schedules!

A few years ago, the Huntress Group of London conducted a survey of employees regarding their summer plans and workplace productivity revealing some interesting statistics:
  • 58% of employees planned to take time away from the office for a summer vacation
  • 68% of employees admitted to daydreaming about plans for summer travel while at work
  • 60% reported they would leave the office for a lunch break outside during the summer months
  • 63% reported they would leave the office earlier than normal in order to spend more time outside
  • 24% of employees felt that their productivity levels actually dropped during these sunny summer months
Julia Vassie, Commercial Director at Huntress, presented the results of the study along with the advice, employers should offer flexible scheduling options to employees allowing them to arrive late or leave early in order to spend more time outside in the summer sun.

In fact, many corporations do allow employees to take advantage of summer scheduling. Many accepted plans involve a condensed work week allowing employees to leave early on Fridays or take every other Friday off entirely. Ideally, employees with extra time to enjoy the summer weather will be more motivated to work while in the office boosting productivity in fewer or simply nontraditional hours. If your employer does not allow a flexible summer schedule be sure to get outside during lunch time or for a short walk in the afternoon.

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