Office hour changes in the workplace

While commuting into work, I read an article on how starting work before 10am is akin to torture...

A bold claim I thought, but one that resonated with me, as I firmly believe that starting my working day at 10am makes me a more efficient employee.

The article published by Minds quotes the work of Dr. Paul Kelley of Oxford University and claims that “it violates the natural circadian rhythm of the human body to wake up every day for work at 9am.” It also points out that the 9-5 mentality and 8 hour work day was “implemented by factory owners in the 1880s” and has never really been adapted to suit our more modern way of working.

Before starting my role at BrightHR, I have always worked in companies where the official start time has been 9am, but my end time has been when the job is done. Therefore if you enter the office at 9.05 you’re late but if you leave at 7pm, well that’s just getting the job done.

BrightHR introduced flexible working when it first launched so I was keen to see what worked best for me and found that a 10am start made me feel healthier, more efficient and happier.

Here’s why:

1) My commute puts me in a good mood. My commute into work consists of a 20min walk to the Metrolink and a 25min journey so I normally set off at 9am. Even during winter by 9am it tends to be lighter so I generally enjoy my morning walk and being out in the daylight. By the time I get to the Metrolink, I have avoided all of the rush hour madness, so when I arrive at the office I’m normally in a happy mood and feel more creative.

2) I feel healthier. I’ve never been good at eating early in the morning, so would often miss out on breakfast at home and eat something at my desk. With a later start to my working day, I always have time and feel ready to eat breakfast at home. This means I can have a healthier breakfast, rather than convenience snacking at my desk.

3) I feel switched on when I arrive in the office. I don’t need a caffeine fix to get me started, as I genuinely feel ready for the day ahead and have had enough sleep. I tend to check emails on the Metrolink on my way in so I’m normally up-to-speed and ready for the day ahead.

As Dr Paul Kelley points out, we are currently putting employees through a standard work pattern that was established over 100 years ago but we’re working with 21st century technology. This puts a massive pressure on people to always be working, causing increased sick days and lower employee engagement.

I believe that, although I am in the office 10am - 6.30pm, I am in fact always thinking about work and contactable so appreciate that I can start at a time that suits me. I like the fact that my company treats me like an adult and allows me to manage my own time.

I work with a lot of colleagues who love to start the day early and would hate the late finish time, so I’m not saying one rule fits all. I just think that companies should consider flexible working, as for me it has led to a more efficient way of working and more loyalty towards the company.