It’s 3pm. Your employees’ eyes are closing, their yawns are getting longer and their concentration is waning.
The likelihood is that they’re dreaming of crawling into bed and the only thing keeping them going is the call of the vending machine and a sugar fix to help them through.
Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry. Your employees are far from alone.
Thousands of people all over the world suffer with it. Commonly known as the 3pm slump, it’s that time of day when all people want to do is sleep….but the one time during the week that they really can’t.
So how can you best help your employees overcome or prevent it?
Hydration and Healthy Eating
The saying ‘you are what you eat’ has a lot to answer for in many ways, and it’s no different when it comes to avoiding the 3pm slump.
Therefore, try to encourage your employees to make healthy and nutritious food choices, by placing free fruit bowls around the office to which they can help themselves.
You could take this further by also providing a breakfast snack station for the beginning of the day, providing foods that have high nutritional value and are low on sugar.
Ensure your employees keep hydrated throughout the day by installing water dispensers at regular intervals around the office.
Go get some fresh air
Getting outside at lunchtime is good for us both mentally and physically. A brisk walk or exercise in the natural light and fresh air can help increase alertness and certainly help blow out those cobwebs.
Studies have also shown that a workout at lunchtime can improve productivity and lower stress.
Therefore, try to encourage your employees to escape the office at lunchtime. Even five minutes can make a difference, as it helps keep our circadian rhythm on track meaning our bodies can distinguish between day when we’re alert and night when we’re restful.
Lunchtime group exercise programs are a great way to get people involved.
Ensuring that your employees take a break from their desks is one of the most effective ways to keep the 3pm slump at bay.
Think about organizing a meeting in an outside venue or at a local coffee shop to get them up and away from their desk at this time.
Alternatively, set aside 5 minutes to encourage everyone to do something completely unrelated to work. For example, give out some crossword or puzzle books or put on an upbeat song and get everyone up and moving.
Avoid sugar and quick fixes
Whilst it’s tempting for employees to reach for a sweet treat or a boost of caffeine to get them through that terrible slump, it’s wise to try and avoid it.
Instead, try to provide vending machines or ‘free’ snack boxes that stock foods high in energy and protein so as to prevent the inevitable sugar crash after eating. Foods such as nuts, cheese or trail mix are all good suggestions.
Instead of coffee, stock the kitchen cupboard with green tea as an alternative or provide a water cooler with fruit in for flavoured water.
Putting some simple regimes in place may really help to increase the productivity of your team. Do you suffer from the 3pm slump, and have any tips to help you and your office through? If so, please share in the comments!
About Jo Hartley
Jo Hartley is a writer for Open Colleges, Australia's leading online education provider. She is also a regular contributor to Fairfax's Essential Baby and Essential Kids sites and her work has also been featured on SMH Lifestyle, SBS Comment and in SMH Sunday Life, Body+Soul and MiNDFOOD Magazine.