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There’s no one-size-fits-all for the ideal workday

I recently sent a meeting request to a colleague who works 9 hours behind me in our Citrix office in San Francisco. Here’s what he replied: “We can shoot for 8AM my time / 5PM yours. I can’t promise I’ll be completely coherent that early on a Monday but it should be fine.”

I ignored his warning and suffered the consequences of a slower-paced meeting… lesson learned. While we all differ in when we are most effective and can best tackle mentally demanding tasks, we should be considerate of these differences when collaborating with others.

Working hours that demand being present in an office from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, ignore this consideration, and also negatively impact employee engagement and happiness at work. They can also take a toll on one’s home, family or social life, and jeopardize a company’s retention of talent. So why do so many companies continue to enforce the 9 to 5 workday?

The Industrial Revolution saw companies adopting this standard workday in order to maximise output on factory production lines. While we still firmly believe that the office serves a very critical purpose, advances in technology and increasing globalisation are beginning to render the idea of the ‘standard’ workday obsolete.

Teams distributed across time zones, the rising popularity of remote-working, and advances in mobile technology challenge its applicability to modern work life.

We rely heavily on Podio, GoToMeeting and Sharefile to get our own work done across our distributed team. Divided across three offices, we all find different value in the flexibility our work tools provide us, given they let each one of us work the way we want to.

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Originally posted 2015-07-30 03:55:34.

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