The average professional work day runs 8am-5pm or 9am-6pm + any overtime. But given our global economy, which allows people in multiple time zones to contribute to the same project, are those arbitrarily selected work hours really necessary anymore?
I know plenty of people who can be at work wide awake pre-8am. I am not one of them. While I can easily work til 2am when need be, my body rebels against early mornings even when I get a full night of sleep. And for my early AM peeps, they struggle with late nights and would much rather get up even earlier when needed.
So it comes as a bit of a relief to see my high school struggle to focus in an 8am French class explained by new research. Researchers are encouraging high schools to start an hour later, allowing night owl teens to get the extra hour of sleep they need to function and focus at school the following day. In trials of a later school start, students not only got more sleep, but number of car incidents caused by teens dropped, as the rate rose in surrounding districts not participating in the trials.
But what of adults who are naturally inclined to wake up a bit later and to do their best work later in the day? Projects are due when projects are due, regardless of when you’re working on them. Isn’t there some wiggle room for the work days of individuals who aren’t high functioners at 8am?
Given the obsessive use of email communication and taking advantage of Indian outsourcing to see project work continue after Western hemisphere businesses shut down for the night, if a manager trusts you enough to hire you, shouldn’t he trust you to get the job done regardless of your work hours? Wouldn’t that flexibility improve job satisfaction and potentially productivity?
I hope I get to answer those questions some day. Until then, it’s dual alarm clocks for me.