Some tackle complicated work early
Employees tend to be most productive between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. — and least productive in the late afternoon, according to a new survey.
To maximize their day, 71 percent of employees say they often schedule complex tasks during their most productive work hours, typically from about 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Many save simpler duties for later in the day, targeting their completion for 2 to 5 p.m.
Workers also report the majority of the mandatory meetings they attend are held during that high-productivity period in the morning before noon; although 16 percent said most of their meetings take place between 12 to 2 p.m., and meetings occur most often after 2 in the afternoon for 17 percent of employees.
Midday Meetings May Inspire Interaction
The survey also found the time of day can have a significant impact on how much employees contribute in meetings. More than one in five employees say they would be more active in work meetings if they were held at a different time.
Workers who attend meetings from 12-2 p.m. are the most likely to say they were extremely active participants.
Later in the day, some people may be too tired to significantly contribute. Eighty-one percent of employees say they experience a sudden dip in energy, or an afternoon slump, an average of 3.2 days per week — essentially, more than half of the work week.
The afternoon crash is most common on Monday, when 27.6 percent of employees say they've experienced it. Friday is the second most common day, according to 15 percent of employees — followed by Thursday (13 percent), Wednesday (13 percent) and Tuesday, when 5.8 percent of workers said they’d felt a drop-off of energy in the afternoon.
More than a quarter of employees — 25.3 percent — say they’ve experienced an afternoon slump, but it hasn’t occurred on any particular day.
Drinking a caffeinated beverage is the most popular method used to deal with the afternoon crash at work; 57 percent of respondents say that’s the solution they turn to when tired.
Taking a project break was ranked second (40 percent), followed by stretching (more than 38 percent), having a snack (37 percent), drinking water (36 percent), and walking or going outside (31 percent).
For more on how to avoid the afternoon slump — and to find out how many employees say they’ve fallen asleep while at work — view this information about the survey, conducted by Paychex.