Top Ten of The Strangest Efficiency Habits


A fun blog outlining some of the odd efficiency habits today’s workers have adopted to boost their performance at work.

Work is a serious business. But stories of how people work efficiently can be amusing… if not hilarious. We all have different approaches when it comes to being more efficient. But a golden rule applies: if it works, it’s valid. Within the confines of the law and respectful behaviour, anything today’s worker does to increase his or her efficiency is a good thing.

So if you ever kept a habit to yourself on the basis it sounded too strange to share, relax. These ten oddball habits are as strange as they come – but they do share one common denominator. For the people who use them, they work.

  1. Wear the same clothes for a year.

Art Director Matilda Kahl decided to beat the hypocrisy of the fashionistas – by wearing the same outfit to work every day for a year. Contrary to what you might expect, most of her co-workers didn’t even notice – demonstrating that office fashion doesn’t have to be harder just because you’re female.

We’ll bet her employer loved the efficiency boost. Did she use the extra time to slip in a morning conference call, we wonder?

  1. Set up home in your company’s car park.

At least one Google employee beats the Bay Area commute by living in a makeshift RV out in the car park – using the company’s in-house showers and gyms to prevent a descent into the down ‘n’ dirty.

Of course, being among the world’s most connected companies, he’s never at a loss for mobile connection, meaning he can plan his day at the office… from the office car park.

  1. Sit in a bath full of ice cubes.

Motivational trainer Wim Hof sits in ice baths, breathes deeply for hours at a time, and runs marathons in his underwear. He claims it’s kept him healthy, happy, and productive for decades.

With sick days up to 6.5 per year per employee in the UK, staying healthy seems a great way to become more efficient. But does his tablet work at -20C? We’d suggest keeping your data cloud-based if ice is your thing.

  1. Take a nap at your desk.

It may sound counterintuitive, but with losses due to tiredness hitting $63bn in corporate America, companies as big as Uber are letting employees sleep on the job. (Hopefully, they don’t mean the drivers.)

There’s science behind it. Our natural circadian rhythms tend to make us sleepy in the early afternoon, so a 20-minute nap can refresh us for a hard-charging second half of the day. Make sure you don’t leave the videoconferencing camera on though.

  1. Make Fido an honorary employee.

Many companies find a dog around the office increases employee happiness and efficiency. Why not go a step further, and include your fuzzy companion on your virtual meetings with customers, to show you’re not all work and no play?

Just remember not to allow him to edit your collaborative documents. “Woof” is not a business strategy.

  1. Think about your impending doom.

Life is short. So if the working day seems long, why not reflect on mortality?

It’ll make you reassess your priorities and concentrate on the goals that really matter, clearing out the clutter and focussing on the must-do stuff rather than the nice-to-have stuff. It might bring life to that 7pm video call.

Of course, don’t make your next online meeting with clients a discussion on Satre’s existentialism. It’s not great for the sales figures. Unless you’re a university bookshop.

  1. Encourage social media use.

Again this sounds odd, but studies show giving your people the freedom to do “non-work” stuff – like posting on Facebook – raises their sense of togetherness and validates them as individuals, both of which increase work output.

Please don’t get that JPEG of your birthday drinks confused with the scan of your company’s marketing strategy when you document share, though.

  1. Work only at night.

Nearly all jobs happen during daylight hours, but we’re divided into larks and owls who prefer different work patterns. The rise of remote working and flexible hours enables “night work” and “day work” to combine effectively – and electricity is cheaper, roads less crowded, and the world quieter in the witching hours, too.

If you’re already seeing the benefits of remote and flexible working, why not try going dark? Just leave the lights on when you hold that vital team catch-up on Skype.

  1. Go vegan!

OK, this is an extreme one for any carnivore, but studies show a diet rich in grains and legumes can boost performance during the day, avoiding the “carb spikes” and “meat sweats” that make people sluggish after meals.

When you need to stay awake for that time-zone-defying teleconference, the difference between success and failure might just be that you chose the salad over the steak.

  1. Goof off!

Finally, when you’ve hit a roadblock in a daily task, actively not thinking about it (for a short time) can jolt you back on track. Faced with the intractable, do the inexcusable: goof off for a while. Take a walk outside, hold your conference call in the park, collaborate on a document from the coffee shop.

Just avoid the bathroom; there’s a time and place for everything. Especially if you’re on a video call.

Today’s efficiency tools – from collaborative document-sharing to cross-border video conferencing – make efficiency easier… but don’t forget to develop your own habits, whether they use technology or not. Why not share your own tips with the efficiency experts of Arkadin?


  • No matter how much technology helps, some people have strange efficiency habits
  • Combining personal efficiency practices with communications software is a winning move
  • Living in the car park, emailing in the bath? You don’t need strange habits to be efficient
  • However strange these habits sound, they’re all about saving time and effort – and that’s efficiency
  • No matter how strange, if an efficiency tip serves your customers better – use it!

For some more down-to-earth ways to become more efficient, download our eGuide: “A Realist’s How To Guide for Enabling Flexible Working“.


About the author

Helen Lancaster, has a career spanning 18 years in the IT and Telco sectors spending time at Canadian giant Nortel Networks, US manufacturer Avaya and UK Telco Kcom. Her roles over the years have included various commercial positions in sales and marketing - including four years in Madrid in Spain - leading to her current position of Head of Marketing for Northern Europe at Arkadin. Helen has a passion for data, and all things digital.

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