Businesses use tools such as Microsoft 365 and SharePoint to increase their workers’ productivity, but could something as simple as changing working hours also make a difference?
There is a correlation between the amount of sleep that workers get and their level of focus and attention, with well-rested workers tending to be more focused and productive.
In a German experiment at the ThyssenKrupp steel factory, researchers classified workers as either early risers or night owls. They assigned early risers to the day shift and night owls to the late shift. This aligned work schedules to workers’ internal clocks. The result was that the workers, on average, got 16% more sleep.
In the USA, educators are looking at the sleep patterns of students. Adolescents in particular naturally want to stay in bed longer in the morning. Schools are looking at starting later in the day when students are more awake. Similarly, if employers encourage employees to work when they are feeling more awake, productivity should theoretically increase.
If night owls start late and early risers start early, there can easily be issues with collaboration. If all workers are not in the office at the same time, meetings will be difficult to arrange.
However, studies have shown that meetings are often unnecessary. According to research by Fuze, 92% of attendees at meetings admit to not paying full attention. What’s more, meetings can pull people off working on tasks.
In a survey of American workers, 67% said that most meetings were not productive and 27% of those asked believed meetings reduced their effectiveness by interrupting them working on important tasks. While not a definitive argument to never hold meetings, but rather to only hold them when it is absolutely necessary.
Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint are designed for collaboration. Files can be shared and edited by select team members and workers can contribute ideas using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, tools developed for collaboration when team members are at different locations or when they are not working at the same time.
Using Microsoft collaboration tools, it is no longer necessary for workers to always share the same working hours. Some businesses already have flexi hours where start times can vary, but usually even when flexi time is in operation, there is a period during the day when all workers are in the office at the same time. The next step is complete flexibility, allowing the early risers to start before 8 am and the night owls to come in after midnight. This may be a step too far for many companies, but the German steelworks experiment is evidence that this way of working may increase productivity.
Perhaps more important than working times is encouraging workers to have plenty of sleep. There have also been studies that show that working too many hours leads to employees being overtired, which can severely reduce productivity.
At WM Reply, we can help you increase productivity by using Microsoft apps. All you need to do is make sure your workers sleep long and soundly!
Peter Hall is Marketing Manager at WM Reply.
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