Lighter side: Got a large workload? Hope for rain

by Janie Smith13 Jun 2014
Does the sight of rain on the windowpane make you groan?

If you have a lot of work to get through, it shouldn’t.

According to a study by Jooa Julia Lee of Harvard University, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Bradley R Staats of the University of North Carolina, bad weather is better for people’s productivity than good weather.

The study, which involved Japanese bank workers whose office windows allowed them to see the weather, found that a one inch increase in daily rainfall correlated to a 1.3% decrease in the time it took workers to complete data-entry tasks.

According to the study, when the weather is bad, workers are less distracted by thoughts of outdoor activities.

“Despite the widespread belief that bad weather conditions are related to low productivity, we provide compelling evidence that people are less productive on good weather days because their attentional resources are more likely to be depleted when they have more choices (ie outdoor activities), and face higher opportunity costs of being indoors,” said the study.

The study’s authors suggested that managers could assign more clerical work on rainy days than sunny days to tap into the effects of bad weather on productivity.

“We also note that if an organisation wishes to maintain a constant output of work, then the weather forecast might be a valuable input to a staffing model. Namely, when weather is expected to be good (or bad), then the amount of staff allocated could be increased (or decreased).”

Have you noticed any changes in productivity due to the weather?

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