HEALTH

Scientists Have Put Forward A Solid Case For Night Owls To Start Work Later

Thank. you. science. 🙏

22/05/2017 9:35 PM AEST | Updated 22/05/2017 11:42 PM AEST

People who struggle with early starts could actually benefit from starting work later, according to a study.

Researchers have suggested that bosses could adapt the working day to better suit their employees and improve productivity. 

The study, published in the Academy Of Management Review, introduced the concept of ‘chronotype diversity’ which is where people are biologically predisposed to work better at different times of the day.

For example, some people are able to produce quality work first thing in the morning with energy levels decreasing later on, while others are less productive first thing and tend to become more creative as the day goes on.

There’s also another group of people who peak in the middle of the day and then become tired later on - these fall into the “intermediate” category, according to News.com.au.

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Researchers from the University of Sydney said chronotype diversity can have either positive or negative effects on team processes and outcomes.

As such, they recommended that teams recognise differences in members’ chronotypes - whether they’re early birds or night owls - and structure team work accordingly.

“The human body follows a 24 hour biological clock that determines, for example, wake sleep patterns,” senior lecturer Dr Stefan Volk told HuffPost UK.

“This biological pattern also determines when we are highly attentive and have our mental performance peaks and when we are exhausted and tired.”

The study analysed different occupations, looking at how the circadian rhythms of different team members affected the performance of that team. It also looked at the consequences for team performance when people had different daily performance cycles.

It found that teams such as surgeons and emergency service workers worked better when they consisted of groups of people who had similar biological clocks.

Meanwhile teams which consisted of both morning and evening people worked best for pilots and their flight crews, nurses on long shifts and police.

Researchers wrote: “Given the widespread use of team-based structures in organisations, this lack of understanding imposes a limit on the ability of managers to fully comprehend a team’s collective potential.”

It’s not the first time researchers have recommended a shift in the way we approach the working day.

A study published in 2016 suggested that workers over 40 should work a three-day week for maximum productivity.

The study, conducted by researchers in Japan, found that working for more than 25 hours a week resulted in fatigue and stress for most middle-aged participants.

They suggested that people in middle and older age should work part-time if they want to maintain a healthy brain. 

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