It’s not your fault you can’t focus, blame the weather

Ashley Kincaid, ‘Doah Contributing Writer
April 30, 2014



Sunny days and warmer weather are now approaching with spring finally breaking through the barriers of snow and ice. Unfortunately, recent studies show that the promise of better weather may very well mean a decrease in our overall productivity.

According to CNBC, new research from Harvard University shows that workers tend to get more accomplished when the weather is cold and dreary. This is mainly due to the fact that most of us would rather be outside on a sunny day than stuck in the office doing work. Researchers were able to arrive at such a conclusion by conducting a two-and-a-half-year long study, where they discovered that workers got tasks done more efficiently when it was raining. They did numerous tests with other pools of participants and once again, when the weather was pleasant, the workers were distracted by thoughts of what they could be doing other than being stuck inside an office cubicle.

Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard, said, “When the sun is out you’re sort of thinking about the many different things that you could be doing outside, when the weather is bad that doesn’t even come to mind, because that’s not even an option.”

Another weather-associated issue of productivity happens when inclement weather makes getting to work unsafe and perhaps not even an option.

Not being able to commute to work may not be entirely a negative occurrence, however. An alternative research study has discovered that some individuals experience an increase in their productivity when they are forced to work at home, despite weather conditions.

Gino supported both studies by stating that, “The day of the snowstorm I was even more productive.” Gino said she was forced to work from home recently when bad weather in the Boston area made it impossible for her to commute to work. Having to work from home, without interruptions from meetings or colleagues, she found that she was more productive.

So how can you remain productive even with the forecast of good weather? For starters, try and brighten up your workspace. Things like room temperature, the amount of lighting and bright colors are some easy adjustments that can help to improve your mood. Also, there is always the option of taking your studies outside, as students we have the luxury of studying wherever suits us. So, you don’t have to stay cooped up in a dormitory or library.

Unfortunately, for those of us who are graduating in May and have a major case of Senioritis, we’ll just have to add Spring Fever to the doctor notes.

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