Emerging Trend of ‘Chronoworking’ Demonstrates Growing Need for Agility and Adaptability Among Businesses  

The world is undergoing significant transformation, driven by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of artificial intelligence, and a growing desire for flexibility among employees.  In this rapidly evolving landscape, business leaders need to be more agile and adaptable than ever before, because it’s not only the “what” of work that is changing, but also the “how”. New modes and arrangements of work are being made possible due to technology,

A recent workforce trend called chronoworking offers a compelling example of this need for agility and adaptability. Chronoworking is an approach that emphasizes output over time spent and challenges the traditional work day, and it empowers employees to structure their work hours around their peak activity times and their personal commitments. Scientific research has shown that people don’t have a uniform circadian rhythm, also known as the biological clock. Therefore, not everyone is at their optimum productivity during the regular 9 am to 5 pm work hours.

According to Steve McKinney, President and Founder of international executive search and coaching firm McKinney Consulting, chronoworking acknowledges and celebrates this biological fact. Thus, it allows individuals to work at the times that are most productive and convenient to them, as long as the tasks that are needed are accomplished.

The pandemic’s disruption of normal work schedules and modalities has provided a huge opportunity for businesses and employees to embrace new forms of work, unlocking the immense potential that lay previously untapped due to rigid systems and lack of technological adoption. It allowed people and organizations to experiment and find what works best for them.

McKinney says that for businesses to harness the benefits of chronoworking and other novel arrangements, agility and adaptability are two important characteristics that must be embodied by the entire organization and its leaders. Here’s why.

The first reason is that adopting new work arrangements requires shifting the mindsets of leaders. They need to move away from the traditional “time in seat” quotas and embrace results-oriented performance metrics. Just because an employee is in the office for eight hours a day doesn’t mean they are maximizing productivity versus one working at home. In fact, remote workers have a productivity edge over their in-office counterparts

The second reason, McKinney says, is the need to restructure workflows. Simple remote working is somewhat easier to coordinate because everyone is still online at the same time. Adopting chronoworking introduces an obvious problem: what if the person you need isn’t working at the time? Organizations need to reevaluate existing workflows, protocols, and communication channels to accommodate flexible work schedules in a way that everyone is satisfied and work is not interrupted.

Third is the need to invest in additional technology. Tools that facilitate remote collaboration, project management, and communication become crucial for ensuring efficient teamwork in a chronoworking arrangement. Adopting these tools takes time and effort, especially since humans innately embrace routine and tried-and-tested ways. Shifting to a chronoworking-friendly environment doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger. It needs adequate planning and active participation of all parties involved.

McKinney Consulting has already adopted some form of chronoworking, with its staff able to work at different times of the day, depending on their personal situations. McKinney also shares that one of his industry friends, who is the president of a company, splits his work between early in the morning and late in the evening. After waking up, he would do some work, then in the middle of the day, he would do leisure and other non-work activities. He then works again for a few hours before going to bed.

McKinney founded McKinney Consulting to offer invaluable insights into the importance of agility and adaptability in today’s business landscape. His previous experience in the fast-paced world of athletic footwear, where anticipating trends and adapting quickly were essential for success, translates perfectly to the current business environment.

“By adopting chronoworking and other innovative work arrangements, businesses can attract and retain top talent, increase workforce engagement, and ultimately, achieve greater success,” McKinney says. “However, this transition requires business leaders to be agile, adaptable, and open to new ways of doing things. In this new era, if you just keep doing the same old thing in the same way, you’re going to fail. The future of work belongs to those who can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing environment.”

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