Now that the weather is changing from a hot, sunny, summer to rain, wind, and clouds, it makes me ponder… is there an advantage to this weather change? As the saying goes: “With blue skies, distractions arise”. Could it be that we are more productive when the weather is lousy?
I noticed my productivity levels are pretty consistent but when it’s a rainy, cloudy, day there’s nothing I enjoy more than being productive and getting as much work done as I can, and then relaxing at home with a feeling of accomplishment and comfort!
Can bad weather make you work harder?
Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, Jooa Julia Lee, a PhD Student at The Harvard Kennedy School, and Bradley R. Staats (HBS MBA ’02, DBA’09) of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School conducted a study in Japan to find out whether bad weather makes you more or less productive at work. They gathered information over 2 and a half years on the productivity levels of employees working at a medium sized bank in Tokyo, Japan.
The reason they chose Tokyo for this experiment was because of the variety of weather it experiences from torrential downpours to perfect sunny days.
The researchers then matched that information with the weather data for each individual working day. With this newly gathered information, they analyzed the productivity levels in correlation to the weather. Lastly, they used an in-lab experiment to see if there was a change in the mental state of employees depending on bad weather conditions and analyzed whether this had an impact on their productivity in the workplace. The conclusion of their research tells us that worker productivity is higher on bad weather days than good weather days.
Why? Well, employees aren’t day dreaming of being at the beach all day, or doing other activities outdoors. They are focused on their work at hand and, I would guess, glad to be indoors away from the bad weather!
It seems workers have the mentality to get more work ‘over with’ during bad weather days, so they can have more free time on sunny days. So with this analogy, could it be that bad weather helps to make us more successful? It appears to be the case anyway.
This new finding has become public knowledge, and with so many businesses becoming aware of the fact that bad weather really does increase productivity, managers and business owners are using this information to their advantage. They are using the weather forecast to help them determine which days to add a little extra work to their employees’ schedules and which days to lighten the load!
Keeping in mind the work ethic of employees based on the weather conditions that day, can help managers organize workloads in the most productive manner.
So when you wake up to clouds and rain, don’t feel negative. Realize your day will be productive and full of accomplishment!