It’s not often that the experts come up with some good news:
What is the secret to being more productive at work? As long as you get seven hours’ sleep a night you can drink and smoke as much as you like, researchers have claimed.
The amount workers smoke, eat or drink alcohol does not affect their productivity in the office. However, those who had six hours or less a night were significantly less productive than those who got seven or eight hours’ sleep.
The study, carried out by researchers from Cambridge University and Rand Europe, looked at large data sets for more than 21,000 UK employees.
The findings suggested that lack of sleep, financial concerns and being an unpaid carer for family members or relatives all had a strong negative impact on how staff performed.
Researchers looked at ‘presenteeism’, which is defined by being at work but not functioning at a normal level, and ‘absenteeism’. The academics said the aim was “to understand the relation between a broad set of health and lifestyle risk factors and workplace productivity”.
The report concluded mental health problems also cause “significant productivity loss”, particularly in the form of presenteeism.
I can certainly believe that lack of sleep affects productivity adversely. If I get less than about 5 hours at night, I’m a zombie the next day.
Not sure about food and alcohol. If I eat fairly sparingly at lunchtime, and drink alcohol fairly sparingly as well, I’m usually unaffected. In fact, I’d say my performance improves. But if I have a lot to eat and drink, it’s a guaranteed recipe for falling asleep in the afternoon, and remaining semi-comatose most of the evening as well. Which doesn’t exactly enhance productivity.
But maybe that’s just me.
Smoking is the only thing that always improves my performance, whatever I’m doing. Along with tea or coffee. Klaus K has an article about it (which I helped translate, incidentally): Tobacco increases work capacity. He had another one somewhere, which was about how productivity in Denmark had fallen since their smoking ban.
It’s rather refreshing to have health experts giving food, alcohol, and tobacco a break for a change, and considering productivity rather than “health” (or longevity). Perhaps they aren’t all singing from the same hymn sheet after all?