So it may surprise you to learn that changing my work schedule so that I come in an hour and a half earlier has made my productivity skyrocket, despite having to wake up before the sun.
Because even though I am not greeting the day with a song and a smile, I get some of my best writing and editing done during the quiet morning hours.
Does that mean that everyone should work the same schedule as me? Of course not! If you are looking for the perfect work schedule, I have some sad news for you:
There is no perfect work schedule for an entire office. Productivity is simply not a one-size fits all endeavor.
People have different preferences. Some may not even know what their ideal schedule is. So how do we figure it out? And what can companies do to get the most out of each employee, each workday?
Pay Attention to Circadian Rhythms
Internal clocks can have a major impact on productivity throughout the day. Though it varies from one person to the next, people experience natural highs and lows in concentration as the hours tick by.
Once a person knows his or her circadian rhythm, it can be easier to plan out when to do each task.
Managers should also pay attention to circadian rhythms when making plans for employees, according to Harvard Business Review.
If employees are at a point of the day where their energy is dipping, it is not the best time to work on an important task. Savvy employers can use circadian rhythm to get more productivity and better work from employees.
Let the People Nap
Yes, you heard me! Push aside that image of a lazy worker napping during a meeting. Research shows that naps can improve the performance of tasks and help to combat fatigue.
Napping doesn’t have to be hours and hours of sleep. A 20-30 minute nap can do wonders for productivity.
Think about it: would you rather have employees stare blankly at their computers, yawning and struggling to keep their eyes open for hours and getting nothing accomplished, or napping for 20 minutes and having an incredibly productive day?
Give Flexibility Options
Another way to get the very best out of people is to give them the options to create a schedule that works best for their needs. Flexible schedules allow people to have a better work-life balance and get more done during their working hours.
There are plenty of flexibility options to choose from. Employees can choose between different work hours, telecommute sometimes or even telecommute full-time, depending on what works best for the company.
A few adjustments can make a huge difference in the workplace. Companies with flexible options can attract a wider range of talent, inspire more team loyalty and most importantly, get better work out of their people.
So stop looking for the perfect work schedule and start looking for the work schedule that works perfectly for real people and their real lives.
Erin Palmer is a writer and editor who thinks that flexible schedules are fantastic. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including The Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post.