Sunday, August 3, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is the bad weather making us more productive?

There’s an upside to the chilling temperatures and snowstorms we’ve been experiencing: it’s making us more productive in the office.

That's according to new research from Harvard University, which found that employees are able to focus and get more work done during these cold winter days because they’re not daydreaming about how else they could be spending their time.

“We found that, on a bad-weather day, people are better at focusing on their work not because the weather makes them grumpy but because they have fewer distracting thoughts about what they might otherwise be doing outside,” writes Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard, and one of the paper’s authors.

The authors first took data from a two-and-a-half year long Japanese study that tracked worker productivity, and then compared it with the weather during that time. They found that workers completed their tasks faster when it was raining.

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  • "We also found that low visibility and extreme temperatures also matched periods of high worker productivity," Gino said in the report. "Meanwhile, clear, sunny days correlated with relatively low productivity."

    The authors also conducted several follow-up studies, and came to the same conclusion.

    Prior to their research, Gino and her colleagues asked about 200 adults to predict the impact of the weather and productivity. The majority of respondents said they think it would have the opposite affect, and that they would be able to focus more during warm summer days.

    So next time you’re depressed about the cold weather, or are annoyed about having to work during a snowstorm, use it to your advantage and focus on getting more work done.

    Read more on Harvard Business Review >

    Lauren Mennen