Those who know me won’t believe this statement, but I once made a concerted effort to become a morning person. I would set the alarm on my BlackBerry nice and early. I would extricate myself out of bed after four or five (or six or seven) snooze buttons. I would even think long and hard about taking the dog for a walk, every morning, before deciding that there might be too much risk of rain…every morning. Sorry buddy, maybe tomorrow.
I was living a lie. I’m not a morning person. I hate the morning. I am a fully-fledged, card-carrying night owl, and I don’t think I can change. I will always be more alert at 10pm than I am at 10am. I’ll always feel as though 2am is never too late, and that 5am is always too early. It’s who I am – I will always work hard, but certain times of the day allow me to work better.
I’m thinking of starting a support group for my fellow night owls. We’ll have networking brunches (we don’t do breakfasts, obviously), and we’ll say things like “top of the mid-morning to you!” And most importantly, we’ll do something about the world of work.
The stale old traditions of work don’t leave much room for your common night owl. I recently read a research piece that found that Managers looked more favourably upon team members who arrived early than the team members who stayed late, regardless of output.
This is a redundant mindset borne out of a time when the majority of work was timetabled against the sunrise in a given day. We are now a 24/7 economy, and for better or for worse, when someone emails you at 9.37pm, you’re probably going to respond then and there.
I’m extremely fortunate to have a job (and an employer) that allows me to manage my time and my workload around my body clock. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not some sort of HR Batman (although that sounds pretty cool). My days are filled with meetings, but I have the flexibility to knuckle down at my laptop and be really productive and creative at the times that, for whatever reason, see me at my most productive and creative. When work gets really overwhelming, I actually find it easier to work at a calmer pace over a longer window of the day than go helter skelter for 9 hours.
We are right in the midst of a revolutionary transition in how, when and where we work. It’s important that we all frequently take a step back and think about the objectives of our work. What are the outputs that my role needs to yield? These outputs might include objective productivity data, internal and external relationships that need to be maintained, staff that need to be mentored and coached. These are the core outputs that we need to keep re-focusing on, because almost everything else we do is based on habit – the how, when and where.
Have you ever really thought about when you are at your zippiest each day? Make a concerted effort to monitor this, and think about how this awareness might benefit your productivity.
The future of work is here, and there’s a great opportunity for you to figure out how (and when) you fit into it!
Steven Ford, HR Strategist
Steven brings over a decade of high level HR problem solving and cutting edge forward thinking to the team. Naturally curious with a unique blend of empathy and commerciality, Steven’s passion toward people and performance is unrivalled. Thirsty for knowledge and a natural teacher, this is the perfect recipe for commercial client outcomes. Stevens corporate and not-for-profit experience coupled with his grasp of social media platforms and the emerging communication economy propels wattsnext’s capability.
This post is a guest post from the team over at wattsnext.