In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher asks us to embrace night owls, and their way of working, to further support diversity and inclusivity.
We don't all work the same. We aren't all productive and energize at the same points in the day. So why do we treat all employees like they are?
Night owls and their productive energy shows up differently. It peaks differently. In this traditional model, we’re never getting their best work. We’re never helping them be seen. In this episode, Russel explores how we can be more inclusive for our nocturnal team members.
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Diversity and inclusivity are regular topics of conversation on this show. And they should be.
One of the big reasons is that diversity covers a lot of ground. Some of it not very obvious.
How about in the way we work best? In hour our energy and focus show up? It’s not the same for everyone and yet we approach the work day almost consistently the same.
What about the night owls? Those that are far more focused and productive later in the day thank in the early morning.
I had a great chat recently with productivity expert and former guest Mike Vardy about night owls. Spoiler: He is one.
We discussed how in a world that celebrates starting the day early as a measure of motivation – 5am club, 4am club, etc… Those are all part of those badges of honour.
Night Owls can be undervalued and misunderstood.
n 1926, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, started the concept of a five-day, 40-hour workweek for his assembly line workers—down from much longer hours. The 9-to-5 workday was created to serve the needs of business titans who ran manufacturing plants that relied upon lots of people standing on assembly lines. (Forbes)
We were robots. Cogs in machines. Moving widgets across a conveyor belt.
The world has changed. The nature of our work has changed.
And generally, we haven’t shifted much since from this traditional model. Not very “innovative” of us.
So where does that leave night owls?
Night owls and their productive energy shows up differently. It peaks differently. In this traditional model, we’re never getting their best work. We’re never helping them be seen.
So, if we're talking about diversity at work, are we considering how our employees best operate or are we stuck in an "early bird gets the worm" as the only way of operating?
What if starting work "late" or sending emails "after hours" is actually what some team members need, and for leaders to embrace, not criticize? Let's instead consider how each of our employees work best and how best we can capitalize on it to improve the workplace and help improve inclusivity.
Let’s better love our night owls! Consider these steps when embracing these nocturnal types:
1. Flexible Scheduling: Night owls tend to be more productive and alert during the later hours of the day. Therefore, offering flexible scheduling options, such as evening or night shifts, can allow night owls to work during their most productive hours.
2. Accommodate Work Environment: Night owls may find it easier to work in a dimly lit environment with fewer distractions. Providing adjustable lighting and soundproof workspaces can help create a more conducive environment for night owls to focus and be productive.
3. Encourage Breaks: Encouraging night owls to take regular breaks can help them to stay alert and focused. Night owls may find it beneficial to take more frequent breaks during their shift and to take a longer break in the middle of their shift to recharge.
If we truly want to embrace innovation, diversity, inclusivity… then we need to take the actions that help with those mantras.
And that includes looking at old ways of working, considering what might work best for our teams on a personal level and adjust and review to make it a better place to work and to be productive.
For the benefit of the company and the night owl.