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Bad weather makes people more productive, that is what social scientist Jooa Julia Lee and her team from Harvard University recently found out.

They tested 653 people in four experiments and the results were quite clear: if it’s sunny people tend to be more distracted and let their minds wander resulting in less productivity, if it is raining workers are more concentrated and get more done.This also applies to students, who, as we all know, are more inclined to enjoy life instead of studying when the sun is high in the sky.

But what does it mean? Basically, if the sun is shining we start thinking about what we could be doing outdoors instead of working indoors, distracting our minds with possibilities and choice. And once confronted with choices our mind is less focused. This supports the ‘ choice overload hypothesis’ which says that the more choices we have the more distracted we are and the less able we are to complete tasks.

Of course this only applies to indoor work as outdoor work is influenced by the weather in completely different ways. But the study could be of interest to employers as one of the experiments within the study showed that it could benefit companies if they assigned work that required sustained attention, like clerical work, on rainy days and work that allows more flexible thinking on sunny days. Maybe even allow for more flexible working hours to maximize productivity.

However one thing stays unclear: does this apply to Dublin as it does to LA? If so it should mean that the Dubliners are much more productive that the Angelinos, and I am not sure the numbers support that. But it may explain why Ireland has managed to clamber out of debt much quicker than Greece.

Study by Jooa Julia Lee, Francesca Gino & Bradley R. Staats: Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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