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Can switching to ‘chrono-working’ improve mental health?

May 28, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

A survey from specialist recruitment consultancy, Robert Walters, has revealed that two-fifths of professionals feel that their mental health could be improved by ‘chrono-working’ – the process where companies allow you to choose work hours according to your natural sleeping pattern.

The findings come amidst 54 per cent of employees stating that their organisations flexible work policies are not tailored to their needs – with over a third of organisations (35 per cent) taking a one-size fits all approach to flexible working such as two-days in the office, or early finish Fridays.

The vast majority of flexible working policies have come about organically (22 per cent) as a result of Covid-induced working practices. However, 37 per cent of employees have stated that their organisation has no obvious approach or strategy toward flexi-working.

Chris Eldridge, CEO of Robert Walters UK commented: “Chrono-working offers significant benefits in helping professionals to achieve a work-life balance they are happy with.

“However – it’s definitely not a universal working practice – most companies have a whole ecosystem of suppliers, clients and stakeholders to consider when approaching working hours.

“The decision to adopt this way of working may come more easily for those who don’t operate based on a set of strict core hours like start-ups, tech and e-commerce firms – whilst for those with fixed core hours or availability requirements may run into more challenges.”

According to the survey, 42 per cent of UK professionals felt that their mental health would improve if they worked according to their natural sleeping pattern. Whilst over a third (37 per cent) felt that they would be more focused and productive in the workplace – a further 11 per cent believe that the quality of their sleep would improve drastically.

Eldridge said: “While it may initially feel like a drastic departure from the usual working styles – flexible-working has been a normalised workplace benefit for a while now. What chrono-working understands is that an individual’s productivity and wellbeing shouldn’t be mutually exclusive – and not all professional’s productivity levels fall in line with the traditional nine to five set-up.

When asked what flexible work policy they’d like to see their company pilot, a four-day week (33 per cent) came out on top – followed by working from anywhere around the world (27 per cent), and being fully remote (29 per cent). With only 12 per cent opting for chrono-working.

However, upon being asked what working-pattern they’d choose if their company adopted chrono-working, 47 per cent of professionals opted for an early start / early finish followed by alternate between all (38 per cent).

Interestingly, just eight per cent stated that they would stick to the traditional nine to five, and even less opted for a late start / finish (seven per cent).

Eldridge added: “It’s worth noting that variable hours within a team could limit time spent on project work and collaboration – but on the other hand, for support roles and back-office functions it would increase a team’s hours of availability during the working day.

“All in all, chrono-working shouldn’t be regarded as the magic pill solution for flexible working – instead, employers can take elements that best fit their business model such as allowing early birds to start an hour earlier and finish earlier and night owls to start an hour or two later and make the time up by working later – this approach could see them reap the benefits of boosted employee morale, sleep and productivity levels.”

The post Can switching to ‘chrono-working’ improve mental health? appeared first on FMJ.


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