Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about the need for organizations to develop systems for getting the most out of their people, ideas and revenue. All living things metabolize fuel to create energy, and organizations are no different. Organizations that are great at getting the most out of people, ideas and revenue are far more successful than those that don’t metabolize these key ingredients well.
Think back to Henry Ford and the assembly line. At the time, it was an invention greater than the automobile itself. The five-day workweek that Ford adopted in 1914 was so successful at increasing productivity and profit margins that most of his major competitors soon followed suit. And Theodore Rosevelt even made it a major campaign promise for his presidential campaign. In 2019, the 40-hour workweek is so central to the idea of going to work that thinking differently about it was considered radical thinking. Then, the pandemic. It changed everyone’s perception of going to work and allowed us a moment in time in which we could re-evaluate the systems we are using to make the most out of our people.
As a leader, and a young CEO, I have a hard time wrapping my head around why we’re so fixated on the number of hours people work, or when they work them.
Held in tension with working as a team, where meeting and communicating are important, I have yet to meet a software engineer who did their best work from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. Taking into consideration that our team stretches across four time zones, it’s almost an irrelevant point. At the end of the day, I don’t pay people to sit in a chair for eight hours a day. And, when it’s mission-critical, I need our team to do whatever it takes to deliver for our customers, which might mean eight hours is simply the halfway point of the day. I pay people to contribute in a meaningful, substantial way to the mission of our company. How long that takes, or when that occurs are, to me, irrelevant.
In Daniel Pink’s book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, he makes a compelling argument for different types of people having different peak performance hours based on their own circadian rhythms. Universal business hours for all squashes incredible employees simply because they don’t fit a common denominator style methodology.
When are your most productive hours during the day? When would you work if you could choose? Obviously, this is not something that is going to be easy or simple to work out, but as we move forward, the first system that needs to be reevaluated is the definition of “business hours”.
– Chad Verity, CEO, Hölmetrics