Is Flexible Working More Productive? | Inspire to Freedom

Is Flexible Working More Productive?

September 30, 2015 Jonny Lilley
15646186494_501f0e6db1_zPhoto by David Mulder

Over the last few decades, the idea of productivity has become something of a holy grail. Whatever style of career you have, we bet you’ve been striving hard to achieve as great a level of productivity as possible. Sound about right?

Our collective fascination with this idea has led to books such as ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Timothy Ferriss selling more than one and a half million copies worldwide. Almost all of us have invested in the idea that the more productive we are the better.

It’s likely that the productivity trend is linked to our desire to achieve a better work/life balance. Let’s put it this way: if you can get more done in less time, you’ll be freeing up extra hours to spend however you want.

If you’re aiming to be more productive in order to achieve greater life satisfaction, you may want to ask yourself what the most productive work schedule is. Would it surprise you to know that it probably isn’t the accepted hours of 9am – 5pm?

Many people think flexible working schedules allow us to be more productive. Here’s why:

Flexible working gives you more control of your breaks

Studies show that the most productive work schedule is to work for 52 minutes followed by a 17 minute break. Does this sound weird? Consider each working block as a kind of sprint where you get as much done as possible, followed by a significant recovery period. During each sprint you’ll be well-rested, focused and able to devote intense concentration to the project you’re working on.

The thing to remember here is that breaks are a very important part of the working day. If you’re able to take them regularly, you’re likely to get a lot more done overall. Unfortunately, your employer may not subscribe to this theory! Those with flexible working routines are more likely to have the freedom to experiment with this type of productivity advice.

Flexible working lets you work with your natural rhythms

The human body works on a system of circadian rhythms. Our energy levels fluctuate naturally during the day, but we often don’t pay much attention to it. Instead, we work to routines set by other people, which often don’t suit us as well as we think. There have been suggestions that disrupting our natural circadian rhythms could lead to health problems in addition to a drop in productivity.

When you’re in control of your working day you’ll be much better able to react to your body’s natural peaks and troughs. You’ll know when your most energetic times are and when your concentration levels drop, and will be able to adjust your routine accordingly.

Flexible working has more opportunities for a change of scenery

Working from the same place day after day gets boring. When you’re bored, do you do your best work? We thought not. Luckily, there’s an easy way to address this: work from a different location. A change of scenery can really jumpstart your productivity levels.

This is a lot easier for some of us to do than others. People who are self-employed or work from home can choose to work from wherever they like, whether that’s a different spot in the house, or their local coffee shop or library. If you work in a fixed office you may find this trickier, especially if you have strict seating arrangements.

Flexible working allows you more freedom to exercise

Exercise is a very valuable tool to fit into your daily routine. Not only will it help keep you fit and healthy, it can also increase your productivity levels. This is due to a number of reasons: most importantly because it keeps you alert, gives you an energy boost and is an effective way to reduce stress.

The demands of traditional work schedules mean that it can often be difficult to fit in an exercise session until late in the day… especially if you have to do the school run! Those who work on flexible schedules have more freedom to engage in an exercise session during the day, where the benefits will be the most valuable.

How could a flexible working routine help you to be more productive? We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Why not share them with us on Facebook?

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