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Blame Cyberloafing on Daylight Saving Time

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Blame Cyberloafing on Daylight Saving Time

Switching to Daylight Saving Time reduces our sleep time by 40 minutes on average and leads to reduced self-control. You just may find yourself cyberloafing today.

It’s rare that employees have a legitimate reason to cyberloaf. You know, spending company time checking sports scores and the latest celebrity gossip or finding old friends on Facebook, when you’re supposed to be doing something legitimate to earn your paycheque.

But if you find yourself unable to concentrate on work today and you’ve wasted your day surfing the Net for useless trivia, it may not be your fault. You can blame it on Daylight Saving Time.

Researchers at Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business, Singapore Management University, and the National University of Singapore, studied Google data from the past six years. They found that entertainment searches rise significantly the Monday after we switch to Daylight Saving Time compared to the Mondays before and after.

And when people are tired, they have poor self-control.

Time change to blame
We lost, on average, 40 minutes of sleep last night due to the switch to Daylight Saving Time. And being tired today makes it more difficult for workers to regulate their behaviour and more likely to cyberloaf.

Lost productivity
Researchers conducted an experiment in which they had subjects watch a boring lecture online. The less sleep subjects had the night before, they more time they spent surfing the Net instead of watching the lecture.

And interruptions to sleep also had the same effect. In fact, subjects spent 8.4 minutes cyberloafing for each hour of interrupted sleep they had the night before.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, states that “global productivity losses from a spike in employee cyberloafing are potentially staggering.”

Negative effect of working long hours
Researchers extrapolate that when employers require workers to work longer hours, employers may be unwittingly cutting productivity. Longer work hours my interrupt workers’ sleep patterns and result in less sleep, leading to poorer concentration and reduced output on the job, not increased productivity.

A good night’s sleep is in everyone’s best interests—employer and employee—although when well-rested workers aren’t up on the latest entertainment news, the quality of water cooler chitchat may suffer.

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