That dreaded dip in energy after lunch that requires a shot of caffeine to get over - a new survey found that it's experienced by 81% of employees.

In a survey of more than 1,000 people about their work productivity, Paychex revealed that respondents reported experiencing this phenomenon an average of 3.2 days per week.

Essentially, more than half of an employee's workweek is impacted by a loss of focus in the afternoon.

It may come as no surprise that this afternoon fatigue, also known as the "afternoon crash", happens the most on Monday (27.6%), while it is least likely to happen on Tuesday (5.8%).


So, what are workers doing to defeat the dreaded afternoon crash? How effective are these methods? And, more importantly, how can employers help?

Approximately 57% reported turning to a caffeinated drink for relief. While having caffeine can be effective (49% rated the method as effective), the effects can plateau, and side effects may persist.

Other ways employees have been found to combat the afternoon crash included:

  • Taking a project break (40.3%) - 35.2% rated it as effective.
  • Stretching (38.5%) - 29.6% rated it as effective.
  • Have a snack (37.4%) - 28.6% rated it as effective


Another method workers used to tackle the afternoon crash is to schedule their workday around their most productive hours - approximately 71% of respondents reported doing so, highlighting their own understanding of their best operating hours.

Additionally, workers were likely to schedule complex tasks during their productive hours and leave simpler tasks for later hours in the workday.

So, when are employees most productive?

For employees surveyed, the most common window of productivity was between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Other findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly 38% of respondents attended meetings in the morning, more than midday (16.2%) and afternoon (17.2%) results combined.
  • Over 1 in 5 employees said they would participate more actively in work meetings if these collaborations were scheduled at a different time.
  • Nearly 20% of respondents aren’t at all active in meetings.
  • Be aware of changing the schedule - 33.9% of respondents weren’t completely certain how a schedule change to meetings would impact their participation or involvement.

Infographics / Paychex Photo / 123RF