Managers say 4-6 pm is now a work 'dead zone.' Employees run errands and take care of kids before logging on later to finish.

 The traditional 9-to-5 workday is becoming a thing of the past in the US, as the pandemic has reshaped how white-collar employees structure their work. According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, many workers now experience a "dead zone" from 4 pm to 6 pm. During this time, they may sign off temporarily before resuming work later to complete their tasks for the day. This break allows them to run errands, pick up their children, avoid rush hour traffic, or even engage in leisure activities like golf. This phenomenon has been referred to as the "triple peak" workday.

Last April, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson highlighted this shift in work patterns. Microsoft researchers conducted a study in which they observed two productivity peaks among employees, indicated by keyboard activity: one around 11 am and another around 3 pm. However, approximately 30% of participants exhibited a third productivity peak around 10 pm. This demonstrates how work schedules are evolving and becoming more flexible.

While the triple peak day can have both positive and negative consequences for workers, it allows for a greater work-life balance in certain cases. For instance, working parents can adopt this schedule to spend more time with their children during the day and complete their work once the kids are asleep. However, there is a risk of blurred boundaries between work and personal life if one ends up working longer than one would during a standard workday.

Colette Stallbaumer, the general manager of Microsoft's Future of Work initiative, emphasizes the challenge of finding a balance between flexibility and collaboration. It becomes essential to ensure that one person's flexibility doesn't become another person's obstacle. Microsoft research manager Mary Czerwinski, who contributed to the triple peak day study, highlights the importance of allowing individuals to be productive in their own way and on their own terms. Each team member has unique circumstances, such as caring for infants or teenagers, being most productive at night, or residing in different time zones. Ultimately, fostering productivity requires personalization and acknowledging the diverse contexts in which people work.

The triple peak workday reflects an evolving approach to work, accommodating individual preferences and circumstances. It offers opportunities for improved work-life balance, but it also demands thoughtful consideration of collaboration and effective time management. 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post