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Daylight Saving Time Switch Leads To Less Productivity At Work

March 8, 2012

According to new research conducted by Penn State, the switch to daylight saving time leads employees to spend more time surfing the Web than working.

Researchers said Web searches related to entertainment rise sharply the Monday after the shift to daylight saving time, compared to the preceding and subsequent Mondays.

They used existing data which shows that people exhibit poorer self-control when they are tired, and said that the loss of sleep due to the time change makes employees less likely to self-regulate their behavior.

Instead, the average sleep deprivation of 40-minutes leads the employees to spend more time surfing the Internet for personal gain rather than for work.

The researchers conducted a lab experiment in which they monitored subjects’ sleep the night before they were required to watch a boring lecture online.

Those participants who received less sleep the night before spent more time surfing the Web when they were supposed to be watching the lecture.

The subjects engaged in an average of 8.4 minutes more of surfing the Web for personal use for every hour of interrupted sleep the night before.

“In the push for high productivity, managers and organizations may cut into the sleep of employees by requiring longer work hours,” the researchers write in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “This may promote vicious cycles of lost sleep, resulting in less time spent working, which could result in more frantic pushes for extended work time. Managers may find that by avoiding infringement on employee sleep, they will get more productivity out of their employees.”

They recommend employers turn computer screens so that colleagues can see them or even provide designated break times when personal Internet use would be permissible.

Researchers indluce: D. Lance Ferris, assistant professor of management and organization in Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, and his colleagues David T. Wagner, Singapore Management University; Christopher M. Barnes, Virginia Tech University; and Vivien K. G. Lim, National University of Singapore.

They based their findings on an examination of six years worth of data from Google.

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Source: RedOrbit Staff & Wire Reports



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