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Workers experience productivity peak late at night: study

A new study has found that workers experience a third productivity peak later in the evening.

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: Switching gears, everyone. We've been tracking one story that is sure to get people talking for sure on whether or not you should be looking for a night shift, if you will. And this comes after many weeks, months now, that people have had extended conference calls over the course of the pandemic, working more from home. But this report from "The Atlantic" really breaking down exactly how many people have also looked for some other source of income perhaps, or where their workday has expanded as well and their productivity. Now we've had this conversation, Dave and Rachelle, about the chronotypes and going into what time of the day you operate best. And I'd love to get your takes on if there are different times of the day where you feel most creative and like you're able to kind of dedicate more of that time to what we do on a daily basis. Even though the show is from 3:00 to 5:00, there's different times of the day where you feel the most creative. DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, and I think what this research showed from Microsoft that showed three different periods in which we're very busy. It's right before lunch, right after lunch, and then this strange bump between 9:00 and 11 o'clock PM. So people are clearly never off the hook. There's the good and the bad of this. This work from home environment in which we're now in, you're always at work because that 30%, they say, 30% of the population is doing the same amount of work at 8:00 AM as they are doing at 10:00 PM. So it can be productive for a lot of us that spend those late hours doing emails, catching up on correspondence, but then, again, how much does it take away from your private life? I think my biggest takeaway from this research is that the average workday has actually gone up since we've been at home. And at least in the town in which I live, I find that everyone I talk to works more now that they're working from home than they did before because, of course, they're not spending an hour to two or even three hours commuting. They're getting up at the same time, and they're working to the same time at the end of the day. But that leaves a lot of extra time for work. I am the same as this graph shows. I do a lot of my work right around 9:00, 10 o'clock. Apologies to my producers who have to get the emails at that point of the night. Rachelle, I don't know if you follow a similar pattern. RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, the thing is, I think for a lot of us who weren't working from home during this time, you sort of had your own assumptions about what it's like for people working at home. And then when I actually started working from home, you realize there really isn't a time to not be working because you're prepping for most of the day. And as you mentioned, that pre-lunch bump in productivity, post-lunch, and then even as you're sort of trying to wrangle the house and everything else, if you're a late productivity person, like late in the day, which I am, then it feels like you never really get to turn off. And I think perhaps that might work if your day starts a bit later. But if your day starts early and ends late, I think people are going to start struggling with burnout. I don't know how sustainable that is. Perhaps, for certain projects, if you have a big project, but in terms of it being the all day, every day, with this very, very hyper extended workday, I just see burnout ending up being the result. DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, I just think it's, you've got to take the good with the bad. You get to work at home, but that means you're essentially always at work. When you go into the office, you have that feeling that when I leave that place, I can be off the clock. But you take what you got from this work from home environment.