Do you wake up bright-eyed an bushy-tailed at 6 am every morning and get most of your To-Do list done by midday? Or do you rather go to bed after midnight and get most of the things done later in the day? Society, and even managers have a tendency to frown upon people who start the day later, but contrary to common beliefs, they are not lazy, but are Type-B. Camilla Kring, Founder of B-society and CEO of Super Navigators gave us some very important insight in our October 2015 podcast.
Have you heard of chronobiology? Well, it is a field of biology, that examines the biological rhythms of living organisms. Like some animals are nocturnal, like foxes and hedgehogs, and pretty much useless during the day. And in humans, we can categorise them into Type-A and Type-B persons. And what is both fascinating and disheartening in this, is that society pretty much is built around A-persons. Our new world of work (digital, social, networked and global) was built on top of the industrial-era work organisation, which in turn was built on our agricultural societies. “Rise and shine”, or “the early bird gets the worm” are all inheritances from the times our ancestors had to milk the cows and get the machinery going. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure and 8 hours of sleep were the prescribed rhythms. And not much has changed since.
It is shown, that in performance reviews, employees that simply show up early everyday get higher marks, then colleagues who come later. And to be honest, I have to carefully watch my words writing this post, so engrained are the stereotypes and prejudices around getting up and starting early.
All this starts in the morning, when all across the globe stressed parents are waking up their children to be on time in school and kindergarten, just so they can beat the traffic. And the same goes for evenings. But if you think about it, most of the office workers and knowledge workers don’t have to work 9-to-5 anymore, we are connected 24/7 anyways. Yet our societies are not changing, and this is not good news for all the talented B-persons. Or could this be one of the reasons so many are choosing to going it alone, freelancing, solo-preneurship? So that no boss can greet them with the usual sarcastic comments, when they come to work an hour later then colleagues.
The 10th October is World Mental Health day, and according to research and Camilla, a number of mental and physical risk factors can be traced back to our biological rhythms being all messed-up. If you are regularly not sleeping during your own personal sleep-window, you may be experiencing a number of symptoms. 80% of us wakes up to an alarm clock, which tells you already something. The majority of smokers are B-persons, but drinking excessive amounts of coffee and corging on sugar to be able to keep up, may be also linked to the social jetlag half of humanity is subjected to – due to the rigid societal and work structures we have inherited, and are failing to adapt.
If we could truly create a flexible society, that allows everyone to respect their own biological rhythms, family forms and work rhythms, it could really have a tremendous impact, not only on people’s work-life balance, but on reducing traffic jams, improving productivity, and simply removing a lot of the unnecessary pressures. If teenagers could get the sleep they so need and go to school at 10.00, it would probably not be the end of society as we know it. We could relieve public transport companies of the accident prone rush-hours. We could really allow employees to bring their whole selves to work and break the taboo around taking personal time off during the 9-to-5 day. Because that would make our workplaces and society truly flexible.
Hope you enjoy the podcast, and you can find out more at http://www.b-society.org/.