• Annika Wetzko

Biorhythm-Driven-Contributing

R.I.P. 9 to 5


(Originally published Jan 5, 2018on medium.)

I am a night owl (at least in the life period I am in right now as I’ve learned chronotypes can shift through life). [2]

Which means that working with morning teams always is a challenge for me. I try to cover it by joking — ‘no coaching requests before 12 or bring a big cup of coffee’ — and luckily most of the teams I work with accept the sleepy me in the morning. But I’ve always asked myself: why do I need to get up that early? Obviously it is my job and earns money, but why that early? Why is that anyways accepted that most of us need to work 9 to 5? Can’t it be different? (And I can imagine that larks think the same when waiting of the night owls to arrive from 7 to 10 in the morning, don’t you?)

Nearly 10 years of experience in working with people in the creative and IT environment, I watched organisations, teams and people, myself included, struggling with that 9 to 5 corsett. Know what I mean? The organisational rule of being (physically) present at your workplace from at least nine o’clock in the morning to five o’clock in the afternoon [3] assuming to be the best performing hours a day — of course from a company’s point of view. It doesn’t matter if this impedes delivering results more effectively or efficiently, whatever.

Once been an innovative movement for improving work/life-conditions for fabric workers starting back in 1879 [4], it now feels like a “relic from the past” [5]. Because my generation isn’t working in physically hard conditions anymore, but mentally and digitally most of the time. Working environments changed over the last century were enabling workers to developed from crafted workers, to knowledge workers to “creative workers” [6].

Because of this evolution, we declare 9 to 5 dead from now on. We claim healthier concepts making us happier.

Matching Biorhythm and Chronotype

The context we live and work in right now isn’t time-dependent. Three aspects are highly feeding our working approach at the moment:

  1. The internet and my laptop is there 24/7 basically.

  2. Also are we thinking and operating globally, which means people are available 24 hours a day.

  3. And not yet consciously used in organisations, there is people’s individual biorhythm and energy level.

I calculated mine to check, whether today is a good choice to write an article.

Well, seems that today and the next three days are good ones to be intellectually active. Sounds perfect for writing. And next week shall be better for running and yoga.

And that’s the crucial point.

Our mind and creativity isn’t stopping after 5p.m or even starting at 9a.m. I gathered a lot of experience around working with people in creative and IT environments from 2007 forward — from Software Engineer to Agile Coach. I experienced many different teams within different domains working for their customers.

And here is what I experienced.

The most productive teams I worked with and the once having the most fun in their doings were formed around their members individual chronotypes and biorhythms (as I realized later; not straight away). And their effectiveness improved even better when they matched the chronotype and biorhythm of their customers. Key is: those teams formed themselves by passion and lifestyle. They weren’t formed by organisations or managers.

Observing last years movements, I usually see those kind of teams emerge within the startup scene or startup environments. I state that this is because my generation urges to act and contribute based on passion. We want to contribute to people sharing the same passion as we do. A passion that emerged from our social life context like my other passion for music makes me contribute to the musical nightlife scene as it fits my owl-chronotype so well.

If organisational constraints aren’t consciously considering team forming around biorhythm and chronotypes, millennial and future minecrafted [7] creativity is lost. They will start their own business with no regret. They are willing to break with traditional social concept and they are instinctively looking for people with same lifestyle and passion to do stuff with. And as they will be (and even are) both in the near future — teams and customers — they will set the tone for new concepts to succeed — even being more effectively and way more healthy in doing it.

Let’s start today in becoming healthy!

References

[1] Kevin Kelly — The Inevitable (Viking Press, 2016) [2] http://www.fastcodesign.com/3046391/evidence/morning-people-vs-night-people-9-insights-backed-by-science [3] Nine-to-Five is also called core working times and a synonym for the seven-day-work-week. [4] http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/where-the-five-day-workweek-came-from/378870/ [5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/katetaylor/2013/08/23/why-millennials-are-ending-the-9-to-5/#39f875123d75 [6] https://www.infoq.com/articles/management-30-workout [7] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/magazine/the-minecraft-generation.html

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