Let’s face it, the 9-5 work schedule is a relic of the industrial era.
We’re not just saying that.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6 million Americans ACTIVELY choose to work part-time.
It’s not that they can’t find full-time work – they just prefer not to.
Why Americans Prefer Part-Time Work
The reason is simple. Many Americans no longer follow their parents’ way of working a traditional career path.
They want a flexible working environment that’s healthier and allows them to work on themselves.
Which is why at Mindvalley, we’ve adjusted our workplace policy to cater to this trend. Our employee guidebook has absolutely ZERO mentions of set working hours.
We wanted to create a flexible working environment in which our staff could work on developing themselves and the company – on their own time.
This wasn’t just a random decision to win brownie points. There’s in fact, a very practical reason behind it.
We wanted our employees to get enough sleep.
More than 63% of Americans report being sleep deprived, and this is actually costing companies billions of dollars each year.
Damages come from decreased productivity, accidents, incidents, and mistakes – all caused by a workforce that doesn’t get enough sleep.
You may argue that 9-5 doesn’t necessarily mean sleep-deprived employees – it simply means having everyone work at the same time.
So why the need for flexible working hours?
The answer is “chronotypes”.
What Exactly Are Chronotypes?
According to ‘The Sleep Doctor’, Dr. Michael Breus, each person has a specific time when they’re most energetic. Some people are most energetic in the morning, while others are more alert at night.
Your circadian rhythm – your brain’s sleep-wake cycle – determines when you’re alert and when you’re sleepy over a 24-hour period. Your body follows this schedule to know when to release certain hormones.
While working with insomniacs, Dr. Breus discovered that everyone has a specific circadian rhythm personality, or what he now calls ‘chronotypes’.
Based on their morning and evening preferences, he identified four different chronotypes and associated each of them with an animal that had the same sleep-wake habits.
“So if you knew the best time to do any one of [these] activities during the day — whether it’s asking your boss for a raise, having a cup of coffee, even having sex – if you knew when was the right time to do that… based on your chronotype, you would reach optimal performance,” Breus said.
Based on this principle, he adjusted his patients’ daily routines to accommodate their sleep patterns. What he discovered was that their productivity soared, and their sleep issues were resolved.
How Mindvalley Is Setting The Trend
We’ve taken those lessons, and implemented them here at Mindvalley too.
By having a flexible working environment, we leave it to our staff to determine when they’re most productive.
The result? A happier, more efficient workforce which requires little supervision.
Other forward-thinking companies also recognize the importance of sleep.
Google and NASA for example, have high-tech EnergyPods which helps their staff optimize their naps. These napping pods help them increase their cognitive function and creative problem-solving.
Huffington Post also installed napping pods for their staff to recharge, after their Co-Founder, Arianna Huffington, collapsed from sleep-deprivation exhaustion.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in Texas and White & Case Law Firm also purchased EnergyPods for their staff.
That certainly helped Mercedes Financial’s case when it was voted as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials by both Great Place to Work and Fortune in 2016.
All this goes to show that sleep and flexible working hours are much more important factors when it comes to productivity at the workplace.
So which chronotype are you? Is there a specific period of the day where you’re most active? Let us know in the comments below!