10:47am? ItΓÇÖs Daydream Time
YouΓÇÖre in the office. The clock ticks round to 10:47am. You can feel your mind drifting away from the task in hand, to palm beaches, your favourite celebrity crush or impressing your boss and winning that promotion. YouΓÇÖre not the only one ΓÇô right about now, workers up and down the country will begin their first daydream of the working day.
New research* has discovered that workers drift into a daydream an average of four times each day, with the peak times for zoning out being 10:47am, 1:36pm, 3:07pm and 4:16pm.
And while bosses may worry that daydreaming workers lose valuable productivity time, the average daydream lasts just four minutes and twenty seconds. Moreover, the majority of workers believe that spending a small amount of their working day daydreaming actually improves their productivity.
The survey also debunked employersΓÇÖ concerns that daydreaming employees donΓÇÖt have their mind on the job. The results revealed quite the opposite, with 35% of workers using daydreaming as a technique for visualising future success in the workplace, 32% use it as a technique to solve work-based problems, and 21% to clear their mind so that they can start a new task.
Bosses who are still dubious about the power of daydreaming might want to consider this: even senior executives find time to zone out. In fact, senior level workers were found to indulge in longer periods of daydreaming, averaging five minutes and thirty seconds each time ΓÇô although they tend to wait until after lunch to do so, with peak times being 1:31pm, 3:06pm and 5:18pm.
Like their more junior colleagues, they use daydreaming as a technique for clearing the mind.
Given its widespread popularity among workers, rather than try to restrict daydreaming in the workplace, it may be time for bosses to embrace it.
According to psychologist Corinne Sweet it is a vital process which can offer a whole host of benefits to workers: ΓÇ£Daydreaming provides a vital ΓÇÿmental holidayΓÇÖ for those at work and under stress or duress; it can also play a valuable role in lifting mood, changing neuronal pathways and creating a ΓÇÿfeel good factorΓÇÖ. We process emotions, thoughts and ideas through daydreaming, and, as long as we keep in touch with reality, a few minutes of dreamy mental absence can problem solve, turn on a creative light bulb or simply relieve the stress of a busy day.ΓÇ¥
Some businesses already recognise the importance of daydreaming and even create a working environment which encourages workers to take time out, by providing breakout areas, comfy seating and chill-out rooms.
Creating designated zones for daydreaming could also address one of the biggest problems caused by daydreaming employees ΓÇô 15% admitted to making a big mistake while being preoccupied. Getting them away from their desk for those four minutes and twenty seconds of daydream-time could be a very shrewd move.
Does daydreaming at work make you better at your job? Tell us what you think in the comments.
* Travelodge conducted the study among 2,000 UK workers.