Saturday, 26 July 2008

Bad working habits mean Friday is the least productive day of the week

A mixture of bad working habits and a culture of long working hours means that Friday is the least productive day of the week, while Monday is the most productive says research released today.

The report, Energising Business, by HR consultancy Chiumento reveals that on Monday people feel refreshed after the weekend break and ready to tackle the week. But by Friday, a combination of too little sleep, not enough breaks during the working day, eating “on the hoof” and long working hours throughout the week is causing Brits to feel burnt out.

The findings of the research, conducted by Reed Business Information among HR professionals suggests that this could be a pattern among other work groups.

Dr Andrew Hill, Director of Talent Management at Chiumento and author of the report, comments:

"It is widely acknowledged that the UK has a culture of long working hours. So it’s not surprising that Monday is the most productive day of the week as people are refreshed after the weekend. No-one can perform at their best if they're too stressed to sleep, in too much of a rush to eat breakfast and are then tied to their desk all day, not even managing to take a break at lunch, particularly if they then have to work late. Yet people misguidedly think working in this way is what is expected and the best way to achieve results. In fact, it leads to burn-out by the end of the week."

The research revealed that only 16 per cent of respondents regularly eat lunch away from their desk and take breaks throughout the day. Outside of working hours, 16 per cent admitted that they rarely get a good night's sleep and 20 per cent said they rarely or never ate breakfast.

"Having breaks and a healthy lifestyle is the key for a productive workforce who are able to cope with the daily pressures of work. People need to work smarter rather than harder. These findings reflect what is happening in HR but inevitably this will be reflected elsewhere in the business. In the current difficult economic climate it is even more important for employees to be productive in order for businesses to stay efficient. The priority for organisations should be to optimize value from their investment in people, but putting pressure on individuals to work longer hours suggests that business leaders are missing the point."

The International Labour Organisation reported in 2007 that a quarter of Britons work more than 48 hours a week, and the TUC reported last month that 3.3m are now working longer hours, an increase of 180,000 on the previous quarter.


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