Are you living in a triple peak day? If you’re spending time working remotely you just might be. Microsoft researchers recently coined the phrase as an indicator of the three top periods of production they’re seeing from top tech talent. If you or your teams are working remotely here’s what you need to know about the triple peak workday and how it can benefit your organization.
Remote Work and the “Triple Peak”
Attention managers: Your top tech talent wants to work from home at least three days a week, according to the 2022 State of Remote Engineering Report. While some developers say fully remote work can be isolating at times, 75% agreed that they have better work/life balance and still get more accomplished than when they were forced into the office five days a week.
Software giant Microsoft has been researching remote worker productivity and found that traditionally, your IT teams have two productivity peaks when working from home: before and after lunch. But COVID put remote workers on the map as more than a trend but a real-life IT employment model. Since COVID, Microsoft says, there is a third peak production time that emerges in the hours just before bedtime.
The triple peak helps cover any family time that naturally crops up during the day.
For example, running a dog to the vet or picking up kids from school is offset by working just after dinner time and into the evening. Microsoft points out, “Some just require the extra breathing room at night, away from pings and business calls, to really focus.” However, they also ask the crucial question of whether this is maximizing productivity or is it an encroachment into the developer’s personal time.
Triple Peak or Work/Life Encroachment?
The Atlantic says the old 9 to 5 job has morphed into the 9 to 10 job—and for some of us, that may be right. The author describes it this way, “After two years of working from home, I don’t have one unified period of getting things done. I have several mini periods. Work isn’t a contiguous landmass of focus; it’s more like an archipelago of productivity amid a sea of chores, meals, mental breaks, and other responsibilities.” The question is; is this a bad thing?
It’s true that the data tells us the average workday has expanded by about 13% the pandemic started in March 2020.
Average work done after traditional hours has increased by double that amount. You acknowledge workers are working longer now than when they were in an office. IT teams live on their laptops, so this shouldn’t be too surprising in some ways. (Developers are notorious for spending their lunch hour playing video games, for example.)
How Can Managers Help Their Remote IT Teams Avoid Overworking Which Can Lead to Burnout?
One way, suggested in The Atlantic article, is to cut down on meetings. Many IT teams work during the third peak productive time simply because their day was taken up by meetings. As offices shut down, the number of meetings tracked by Microsoft doubled and in 2021 the trend continued. According to the data, people have a 250% higher volume of meetings than they did before the pandemic. So, true coding, bug fixes, documentation, or even responding to Slack or emails has to wait until the third peak, just after dinner. Managers can better support their IT teams by monitoring these issues and protecting their resources by making sure they take the “less is more” approach to meetings.
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