Photo: Flickr/Seven Morris
Next Monday companies can expect workers to be a lot less productive.And it has everything to do with Daylight Saving Time, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Based on six years of Google data, researchers from Penn State, Virginia Tech, Singapore University and the National University of Singapore found that web searches related to entertainment rise sharply the Monday after the shift to Daylight Saving Time when compared to any other Monday:
Using existing data that shows that people exhibit poorer self-control when they’re tired, the researchers said that the lost sleep due to the time change — an average of 40 minutes that Sunday night — makes employees less likely to self-regulate their behaviour and more inclined to spend time cyberloafing, or surfing the Internet for personal pursuits while on the clock.
While a few minutes of personal Web surfing now and then may seem harmless, given that about one-third of the world’s countries participate in some form of daylight saving time, “global productivity losses from a spike in employee cyberloafing are potentially staggering.” In light of their discovery and other research on the true energy-saving effects of daylight saving time, the authors encourage policymakers to revisit the costs and benefits of the time change policy.
The researchers also conducted a lab experiment where they monitored subjects’ sleep the night before they were required to watch a boring lecture online, and found that subjects on average engaged in 8.4 minutes more of cyberloafing for every hour of interrupted sleep the night before.
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