Many office workers may already know this instinctively: they are often less productive in the afternoon than at the beginning of the day. Especially on Friday. Now researchers are finding evidence of this phenomenon in a Texas office.
Researchers at Texas A&M University Public Health collected computer data from 789 employees at a major Texas energy company for two years — from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2018. So it’s possible that a survey of employees at another company might have shown different results.
The researchers analyzed the data to see if office workers were less active in the afternoon and on Fridays and made more mistakes.
They looked at typing speed, typos, and mouse activity, among other things. The researchers then compared the results on different days and times of the week. In this way they hoped to discover certain patterns.
“We found that computer use increased during the week and then decreased significantly on Friday,” researcher Taehyun Roh, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said in a news report.
People type and scroll more at the beginning of the week
People typed more words, moved the mouse more, and clicked and scrolled more frequently from Monday to Thursday. “Employees were less active in the afternoon and made more typos,” says Roh. “Especially on Fridays.”
According to the researchers, this is consistent with the results of other studies. This indicates that employees are becoming increasingly active from Monday to Wednesday. Productivity will decrease from Thursday.
Researchers offer employers a tip to make their employees happier and more productive: provide flexible work arrangements. Such as a four-day work week or a better split between working from home and being in the office. They haven’t checked if it really works that way, which they point to other studies.
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