Did you know that Mondays at 11am in October are the most productive times of the year? According to data collected by Redbooth and Priceonomics, 11am is the most productive time of the day, Monday is the most productive day of the week, and October is the most productive month of the year. As winter creeps up on us, however, it’s common to feel sluggish — we want to maximize those sunny hours as the days get shorter! Just like our friends in the animal kingdom, humans too respond to nature, seasonality and daylight.
The Seasonality of Work
When and why do we take time off?
From way back in our elementary school days, we’ve come to associate the summer months with free-time, relaxation and vacation. Similarly, studies show that fall is the most productive season of the year —mirroring the start of the school year— whereas summer can have workers feeling 45% more distracted. Regardless of when we choose to give ourselves a break, taking time off is important for both our minds and bodies. Businesses can actually use this to their advantage to make the most of their employees during the most productive times of the year.
How can businesses utilize this to cater to the needs of their employees and optimize work output?
It is said that, in the 1960s, New York’s Madison Avenue ad agencies noticed their employees lacked productivity over the summer. To combat this, they launched what would come to be known as Summer Fridays (or summer hours). Ad folk would take off half-days (or even full days!) on Friday to extend their weekends and get more quality time with their families. This, in turn, boosts morale and helps to make the summer months more productive.
With the increase in popularity of work-from-home and asynchronous (not occurring at the same time) workspaces, businesses can untether themselves from clocks and calendars to better respond to their employees’ needs.
Do seasonal and flexible work hours really work?
Studies show that, since working asynchronously from home, 91% of workers feel they’re more productive working remotely. However, flexible work schedules are possible working remotely or in-person. Of course, all of this depends on your business and your team. Using your own company data and surveying your employees can give you insight into your most productive days, weeks, and months. If half of your copywriting team feels most inspired in the fall and the other half in the spring, there are many ways to coordinate schedules to benefit everyone. Half-Fridays, Mondays off, Fridays off, 9-4, or completely asynchronous— whatever works best for your team!
In this Refinery 29 article, Larissa Crawford, founder of Future Ancestors, explains efforts to decolonize her workplace by reevaluating her employees’ relationship with time. For many individuals and many cultures, a rigid 9-5 workday isn’t traditional or sustainable. Larissa Crawford understands that her team feels most motivated in the fall, despite spring being their busiest quarter. In response to this she says:
“So, in being aware of when our times are busier, why not think, ‘Okay, what do we need to do to protect our energy, to protect our time in winter and summer so that we can come into those busy times of the year with the full vigor that our clients and community deserves?’” – Larissa Crawford, Future Ancestors
Understanding when and why your team does their best work and when and why they need a break is the mark of a truly cohesive team. Once you understand this you can take a page from Larissa’s book and structure your schedules around your crew!
Want to learn more about our team’s time management strategies? Check out Simon’s blog post about side projects on his website Robot Fan Club!