Here’s one for the “No kidding, Sherlock” file: researchers at Texas A&M University found that office workers are more tired in the afternoon.
In other news, water is wet, Florida is hot, and the Kardashians are irritating.
This big surprise was discovered by five full professors and a graduate student on a Friday afternoon, while they were sitting around, getting drunk and telling stories about how they always got sleepy every day after lunch. To their amazement, they realized that absolutely no one on earth has ever noticed this before and decided they might truly be onto a groundbreaking new field of research.
This is not how this really happened. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have to say that, but some people have no sense of humor.
Instead, using a new research method (no, really), the six intrepid researchers analyzed the computer usage of 789 employees who worked at a large energy company in Texas for two whole years, 2017 and 2018. They measured things like typing speed, errors, and mouse activities to determine a person’s productivity.
What they found may surprise you, but probably not because you’re pretty smart.
The six researchers found that people typed more words and used the mouse more every day from Monday through Thursday, and then less on Friday. They also found that employees were less active and made more typos in the afternoon. And they learned that if they sit in the file room, behind the last filing cabinet, they can take a nap where Linda from HR can’t see them.
“We found that computer use increased during the week, then dropped significantly on Fridays,” said Dr. Taehyun Roh, who was 16% of the entire research team.
I don’t want to be one of those people who complain that researchers waste money on silly studies. I’m not in league with those people who complain that researchers spent $50,000 to study whether plants prefer Mozart or Beethoven, but ignore the Department of Defense’s F-35 aircraft that’s 10 years behind schedule and $183 billion over budget.
I’m not going to complain that this is something we all figured out years ago and why we don’t eat a heavy lunch these days. And I’m certainly not going to admit to shutting my laptop at 3 p.m. on Fridays and spending the rest of the day looking at my phone or falling asleep in my chair.
I do that, but I’m not going to admit it.
The findings support the need for more hybrid work, allowing people to work from home two or three days a week. It also supports the push for a four-day work week, letting people have an additional day off since you know no one is doing anything on Fridays.
“Other studies have found that those who work from home or work fewer days have less stress from commuting, workplace politics and other factors, and thus have more job satisfaction,” said Dr. Mark Benden, another 16% of the Texas A&M research platoon.
But a Japanese company, Giraffenap, has a solution that may appeal more to the old-school managers who don’t go in for none of that book-learnin’ and think job satisfaction and reduced stress are for soft-headed sissies.
The company invented a vertical sleeping pod that lets office workers take a quick nap whenever they get the sleepies. The downside is that you sleep in an almost-standing position, which is almost comfortable and will almost let you sleep.
Each Giraffenap pod supports its vertical sleepers with four points: your head, butt, shins, and feet. Each pod is nearly four feet across and eight feet high, and it uses a melamine shelf for your head so you can easily wipe up your drool.
And each pod has sound insulation so you’re not bothered by people outside going about their daily jobs or standing in line, waiting for their turn.
It’s not convenient so much as it is — oh, what’s the word? — dehumanizing. What’s next, a cattle car to shuttle people to the parking lot? Portable toilets for chairs so no one has to leave their desk? Tubes that deliver little feeder pellets whenever you send an email? Maybe they could just build tiny apartments in the building so you can wake up at 7:50 a.m. and be at the office right at 8.
I mean, kudos to you for letting people sleep a little on the job so they can continue to be productive. But, set up a nap room with a proper couch or recliner, and not a vertical coffin that doesn’t let anyone properly relax. What’s next, hanging people from hooks and keeping them in a meat locker?
Giraffenap coffins — I mean, pods — come in two different themes, “Spacia” and “Forest.” Spacia looks like a stasis pod you’d find on a spaceship with Sigourney Weaver inside. Forest is lined with wooden slats all the way around the booth, so you can literally sleep like a tree surrounded by all its dead tree friends.
I’d like to recommend their next model, the Nosferatu, which lets the sleeper hang completely upside down for their slumbers. This way, a person can wake up completely refreshed and ready to feast on her next unsuspecting victim, Linda from HR.