1

What's the correct option? Maybe both are okay?

Example sentence:

Research has shown that naps improve mood, focus, memory, which translates into better performance in/at the office.

(Performance in the office has more Google results than permanence at the office. But I wonder if that says anything.)

2

Google ngram suggests that "in the office" is significantly preferred, but I think both would be equally understood and acceptable.

1

Both would generally be considered acceptable in that particular sentence.


However, one preposition is clearly better than another in certain constructions:

✔ He was comfortable in the office of president.
✘ He was comfortable at the office of president.

In this construction, office is being used to define a role, not a location, so in is idiomatic, whereas at is not.

✔ He was comfortable wearing shorts at the office party.
✘ He was comfortable wearing shorts in the office party.

Here, office is being used as part of a compound noun. An office party is something you can be at but not in.


Note how your original sentence changes if you replace the office with work:

✔ It translates into better performance at work.
✘ It translates into better performance in work.


And in the original sentence, there can a subtle difference in meaning (although it's not always interpreted that way):

✔ Research has shown that naps improve mood, focus, memory, which translates into better performance in the office.

Here, it is talking about the performance of someone while they are working. They have clocked in, so to speak, and are engaged at making a living.

✔ Research has shown that naps improve mood, focus, memory, which translates into better performance at the office.

Here, it is talking about the performance of someone who is physically at their job site. They may or may not be actually on the clock, but they are located where their job would have them be working.


Of course, both sentences carry both meanings. But the preposition used has it lean slightly more one way than the other.

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