daylight-savings

Workers slacking off? It must be March

March 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM ET

DST and daylight savings were trending Monday on Twitter, and the theme of many of the tweets had to do with workers’ difficulties adjusting to the time switcheroo.

“Ugh. It is seriously demoralizing to have to go to work in the dark again. Curse you, DST!” tweeted @woyce, a sentiment that summed up emotion about the day.

Many employees are feeling out of sorts and tired because the clocks have sprung ahead an hour, and that’s going to impact productivity; as witnessed by the plethora of workers spending time tweeting about their hatred of DST instead of working.

Making matters worse is the commencement of office pools this week for March Madness, the NCAA Men’s division basketball championship, that is also expected to be an employee time sink.

It’s the perfect storm of non-productivity.

A recent study by Penn State released found that daylight savings leads to more workers slacking off.

The time switch results in a loss of sleep and an uptick in web surfing, maintained D. Lance Ferris, assistant professor of management and organization and Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Ferris, along with other researchers, looked at six years of Google data and found that tired employees are more apt to make bad decisions.

“Using existing data that shows that people exhibit poorer self-control when they're tired, the researchers said that the lost sleep due to the time change -- an average of 40 minutes that Sunday night -- makes employees less likely to self-regulate their behavior and more inclined to spend time cyberloafing, or surfing the Internet for personal pursuits while on the clock,” according to a Penn State report on the research.

March Madness will likely contribute to the problem. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., predicted the basketball fever could attract more than 2.5 million visitors on the web per day, and each spending 90 minutes watching the games.

While John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, said the slacking off wouldn’t bring the economy down, he did estimate it could cost employers about $175 million in the first two full days of the basketball tournament.

“Monday could be particularly dreadful on the productivity front,” he noted.

Beyond March Madness and DST, there may be a general falling off of worker efficiency going on the United States.

A Wall Street Journal story Monday reported that Northwestern University professor Robert Gordon has found the productivity spike in 2009  after mass layoffs that made employees fearful of losing their jobs has fallen off. He said there were “clear signs everywhere” that productivity has hit the skids.

So maybe, March Madness and DST are just great excuses to sit back and kick up our heels even more. 

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