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11.42am is when PAs are the most productive, new WFH research reveals

Brits have become accustomed to a more flexible working day during the pandemic, and as we approach the lifting of lockdown restrictions, many are expecting this way of working to be the new norm.

A recent study emphasised the importance of this way of working and ditching the 9-5pm, by pinpointing the most productive and creative times of day for each profession, with the next generation of workers unable to work effectively within traditional working hours. The research, conducted by Tic Watches, the watch and sunglasses specialist, asked 1,500 employees to reveal the hour of day they feel most creative, productive and energetic.

The results showed the average Brit, is most productive late in the morning, at 11:54am, but feel most inventive during their midday break, reaching their creative peak at 12:42pm.

Their most creative ideas happen just before lunch, with 10am-11am (15%) and 11am-12pm (11%) the most common responses. Women reach maximum creativity slightly later in the day than men, at 12:54pm and 12:24pm respectively.

The findings also suggest that the introduction of more flexible working hours could increase the nation’s creativity and productivity among younger workers, who are more likely to spend traditional 9-5 hours with one eye on their watches.

While the average times were pretty consistent across age groups, younger workers are the least likely to feel creative between the hours of 9am and 5pm. More than two in five (42%) 25-34 year olds feel most creative outside of these traditional work hours, compared to only a third (33%) of 35-44s and around a quarter (27%) of 45-54s.

Productivity follows the same pattern. More than one in six (18%) millennials feel most productive before 9am, while the same number feel they’re most efficient on an evening after 5pm – more than any other age category.

There is also considerable variation by profession. Tic Watches’ research shows that accountants feel most productive in the morning at 9:48am, the earliest of all the occupations surveyed, while sales professionals get most work done in the early afternoon, at 1:12pm.

The professions that feel productive earliest in the day are:

  1. Accounts – 9:48am
  2. Civil Servants – 11:00am
  3. Plumbers/Electricians/Builders – 11:00am
  4. Administration/Office Workers – 11:42am
  5. IT – 11:48am

The professions that feel productive latest in the day are:

  1. Sales – 1:12pm
  2. HR/Recruitment – 12:54pm
  3. Finance – 12:36pm
  4. Operations – 12:24pm
  5. Teacher – 12:00pm

Despite not reaching their creative and productive peaks until lunchtime, Brits feel most energetic at 11:06am. More than a fifth (21%) of workers say they feel most active between 10 and 11am, before slowly fading as the day progresses. Workers feel laziest in the later hours, with 4-5pm and 3-4pm being the least energetic hours – just 3% of Brits feel most energetic at this time.

Interestingly, nearly a quarter of employees (23%) feel most sprightly before 9am, again suggesting that earlier working shifts might be worth exploring.

Joanna Shurety, Lifestyle Coach at Shurety Coaching, has shared her top three tips for increasing productivity at work:

  • Find your best time – everyone is different, so find the best time for you to work. Assess the things that need to be done each day, keep an eye on your watch and identify the pockets of time available.
  • Regular sleep – having a regular sleep and wake-up time is the best way to get consistent, restorative sleep. It will help your mind and body unwind and recover so you can start your days off in the best possible way. While it may be tempting to spend weekends lying in all day, setting your watch, phone or clock alarm at the same time as during the week helps you get the most out of sleep.
  • Plan your day – spend the first bit of your morning planning, building in time for tasks, lunch and periods away from your screen. Having a structure and focus for each day lets you celebrate and be accountable for what you achieve.

Danny Richmond, Managing Director at Tic Watches, said: “Covid-19 will undoubtedly have a long-lasting impact on the day-to-day of many professions. Lots of workers have enjoyed the flexible working arrangements afforded to them over lockdown and some may push for these to become permanent. Our new research has shown that many Brits feel more energetic, creative and productive outside of the typical 9-5 working hours, so it could benefit both employers and employees to continue this flexibility.”

For more expert advice on how to increase your productivity at work, click here.