According to research by Christopher Randler, “morning people” are more likely to possess the traits – such as being proactive and conscientious – that lead them to do well at business.
I’m not particularly convinced by the findings, but I read it with interest as I’ve been off work for the last couple of days trying (and, let’s be honest, failing) to make a dent in my final CIM assignment. And as such I’ve resorted to my natural sleep patterns. I go to bed between 2 and 3, and wake up around 10 in order to start work around 11 (and I haven’t even been watching baseball recently. That, with the majority of starts being around midnight in the UK, has influenced my bedtime on more than once occasion in the past).
So I’m very much an “evening person”.
Am I being unfairly punished by the standard work schedule? I don’t necessarily think so. I may not relish the early (for me) starts, but I don’t miss them. It is about having a flexible schedule. People, at least in my office, tend to stay more than 7 or 8 hours. If I were in the office from 9.30-7.30 (which I often am), I can still get over 7 hours of “optimal” work around the circadian slumps.
Conversely, if I were a morning person I could change my office hours to 8-6 in order to maximise my alertness. I have had colleagues that have done this. It is not a coincidence that most of them have children.
Our lives are full of compromises and overlap – whether through children, social events or TV schedules – and so I’m guessing very few people maintain their optimal schedule.As long as the workplace has flexibility to accommodate different peaks and troughs, I don’t think I am at a disadvantage.
For one, my body clock works well with work I do with companies in the United States (though, admittedly, less well with Europe and Asia). And I’m not expecting a screening questionnaire on early morning habits to become part of a job interview. Particularly when there are many other traits that are more likely to determine unconscious bias. Height, for one.
Though, saying that, the research could have some applications. For instance, charities could station their chuggers outside Starbucks at 6am, to take advantage of the more conscientious clientéle that will be frequenting the store at that hour.
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