Beware the 'siesta syndrome'

Feb 06 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Another reason for poor workplace productivity has been uncovered by workplace researchers, the so-called "the siesta syndrome".

A survey of 1,000 people by catering firm Avenance suggests that productivity peaks at midday before undergoing an alarming drop in the afternoon.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said that they suffered from "siesta syndrome" and were less productive in the afternoon.

Tiredness, boredom and hunger were employees' main reasons for working less efficiently in after 2pm.

More than half of those questioned also admitted they made mistakes in the afternoon. Men more likely than women to get things wrong.

Mike Audis, chief executive of Avenance, said: "Not only has our research shown that workers are significantly less productive during the afternoon but the majority admit to making mistakes during this time.

"Less work and costly errors means the UK siesta syndrome is having a devastating impact on a company's bottom line and its reputation."

"Many companies already subsidise gym membership to improve the well being of their workforce but there are some other, simple steps employers should consider to combat siesta syndrome.

"These include encouraging staff to take a morning, lunch and afternoon break and eating healthy, well-balanced food throughout the day."

The importance of eating properly at work was underlined last year by a survey of office staff which found that most take less than half an off hour for lunch while one in five take no meal break at all.

As a result, a growing number grab a sandwich at their desk, but then snack on unhealthy biscuits and sweets during the afternoon

These foods tend to have a high fat content and take a long time to digest - increasing drowsiness in the afternoon.

In Japan, meanwhile, a study by the National Institute of Industrial Health found that for workers who took a 15-minute nap during the post-lunch period, "perceived alertness was significantly higher in the afternoon after the nap than after no nap."

Our suggestion? Rather than reading about the latest survey on the internet, go out and have a proper meal at lunchtime!