Bad weather boosts productivity
Productivity solutions come in all shapes and sizes – from high tech payroll software to simple smart phone time management applications. However, a new study has suggested that one of the biggest factors affecting workplace productivity may actually be completely out of any business leader's control.
Recently, Harvard Business Review Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit Francesca Gino conducted a short study into how weather conditions can affect the productivity of any given individual.
According to Ms Gino, there is a direct correlation between outside weather and how productive workers are during the day – but not for the reasons you might have thought.
"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," said Ms Gino in a blog post.
"Indeed, cognitive distractions and error rates were greater on nice days than on bad-weather days."
Of course, there's not much that most business leaders and decision makers can do to affect the weather. However, Ms Gino has suggested that there are things you can do to take advantage of this information and help boost the performance of your workforce.
Being flexible and assigning more routine, clerical work that is less demanding on attention spans on days when the weather is good could result in better business outcomes. Conversely, saving more intensive, attention-dependent work for rainy or overcast days may be a good, outside-of-the-box way to improve productivity.
"Organisations might also give productivity feedback to each employee and allow flexible task assignments that could maximise productivity," writes Ms Gino.
Of course, if your business isn't ready to start assigning work based on the weather forecast, more standard productivity solutions such as workflow automation software may be a better way to go.