While the 3pm slump is a common phenomenon, it’s even more so among millennials (18 to 34-year-olds) in the workplace. Research commissioned by Nespresso has found 82 per cent of millennials reporting loss of focus and suffering from an onset of fatigue come the afternoon. This is compared with 76 per cent of generation X (35 to 49-year-olds) and 67 per cent of baby boomers (50 to 64-year-olds).
Research has found millennials are more stressed than any other generation due to factors such as money and work. Social media and ‘FOMO’, or fear of missing out, also contribute to heightened stress.
Experiencing high levels of stress has a significant effect on sleep at night, which also means this group is then more likely to experience a 3pm slump.
While the afternoon slump can severely impact the productivity and mood of employees, employers are not immune either; this means they not only have the challenge of motivating their staff, but themselves as well.
The best way to help counteract the 3pm slump is by introducing variety of some form in the afternoon. This may sound simple, and it is, but the truth is we are creatures of habit and often forget to mix things up! Research tells us that variety plays an important role in restoring attention and improving productivity.
Research also indicates that 63 percent of Australian office workers choose to make a non-alcoholic drink when the ‘3pm slump’ sets in. A sure-fire way businesses can capitalise on this is to offer a variety of drinks for their employees to enjoy at this time.
Here are my top tips for overcoming the ‘3pm Slump’ in the office:
1. Mix it up
Schedule a new task or activity around the ‘3pm slump’ time. The anticipation of doing something new will bring a renewed sense of energy to the afternoon. Meet with a colleague you don’t spend much time with, or work from a different location in the office.
2. Up the ante
Test yourself. Timing yourself on a task and aiming to beat your best time can help you increase your sustained attention and enhance motivation by being in the “flow zone”. This has been shown to lead to elevated levels of wellbeing.
3. Take a walk
Getting up from your desk or taking a break from meetings to stretch your legs is a sure way to re-energise yourself. Try doing it mindfully to give you an extra energy boost!
Practising deep abdominal breathing can leave you with a feeling similar to that experience following a good night’s sleep.
5. Savour a new variety of coffee
If you enjoy an afternoon espresso, rather than stick to your standard style and variety, why not try a new flavoured coffee or an iced coffee.
Dr Suzy Green is a psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute.