Are we more productive in the summertime?

Happy June, everybody! The temperature is creeping over 18 degrees on a regular basis and you can expose your forearms to the elements without feeling a chill, it means summertime is here. Don’t get that confused with ‘no more rain’. Things are just going to be warmer and the sunny days will make everyone feel a lot better!

However, if you’re an adult, you won’t get to enjoy the summertime like the unemployed, students and kids. You have to go to work and pray that the weekends are graced with good weather.

But this raises an interesting point. Are we more productive in the summertime? Does the warm weather fill us with inspiration to make the most of the days or does it distract us, leaving us staring idly out of windows and complaining that we’re sweaty and bored?

So the short scientific answer is that the vitamin D doses aren’t doing jack for our productivity. The heat makes us slower thinkers because thermoregulation when you’re overheated requires much more energy than when you’re chilly. Especially if you’re moving away from a glucose rich diet i.e. carbs.

On a more behavioural level, a study in 2008 proved that we spend an average of 30 minutes a day more a work on rainy days. The follow-up study found that people were quicker to complete their daily tasks on gloomy days.

The final study (which will resonate with the complaining UK public most) found that temperatures we categorise as ‘hot’ make us feel as miserable as rainy, cold days.

But what about the evidence that suggests that longer days and brighter working environments boost productivity?  Exposure to artificial light leads to a drop in our cortisol levels. This leads to stress and unstable energy levels.

However, even with the light of summertime, the amount of time we spend in front of screens disables the benefits of the more prominent sun. One blog advises that you can wake up before the sun rises and get 2-3 hours of daylight prior to entering that LED hell-hole you call an office.

Happy summertime!