You might have noticed that, whether you’re at work in the morning or the afternoon, you have a couple of very distinct experiences. You might wake up to a doorbell. If your partner is a morning person, waking up in the morning might feel like banging your head against a wall. But “morning people” don’t necessarily fear this. And, unlike afternoon people, they’re not so bad at expressing themselves that they’ll let bad behavior go unchecked if it keeps their commute to work brief. After all, morning people, at least if they’re single, like to meet people in the morning.
To find out how different people feel about their morning and afternoons at work, we surveyed 1,007 American adults online, all of whom work at least 30 hours per week. (Respondents could select up to 10 categories.) We asked, “How different are the ways you feel about your work and co-workers at your current job?” Those who described their morning as grueling (“I feel like I am a slave to my job”) were considerably more likely to say that they mostly feel the same way in the afternoon (69 percent) than those who mostly felt the same (33 percent). And afternoon people were much more likely to say that they tended to avoid being alone with their co-workers than morning people (20 percent compared to 5 percent).
The information we collected can help a workplace accommodate different work styles, whether that’s afternoon people who need quieter offices or morning people who need quiet corners. But it can also help workplaces understand the individual experiences of their own employees. Most of the people who talked to us were skeptical about whether companies were aware of the struggles their co-workers face.
One in five reported they have been interrupted during the day at least once and half said that their co-workers often view them as unintelligent. But it’s not just your co-workers, we were able to learn from, that gets interrupted in the afternoon. Your entire workplace could be getting interrupted, whether your home office has standing or standing desks, or whether your office has coffee machines, too. Staying calm while your personal workspace switches into different modes can be challenging.