According to Microsoft, the 9-to-5 workday is dead - and they have the data to prove it! Coincidentally, that data can only be viewed in Excel. Hmm…
Any who, over the last two years Mary Czerwinsky, the company’s Research Manager of Human Understanding and Empathy, looked into the work habits of in-office and remote employees. Her goal was to analyze (empathetically, of course) how working from home affects productivity.
What she learned was fascinating. Office employees are most productive during two time windows: before and after lunch. Remote workers are also productive at those times, but have an additional peak around 9pm at night. In other words, the 9-to-5 has given way to the “Triple Peak Day.”
This third peak was especially prominent across 30% of Microsoft’s remote workforce, as measured by keyboard usage (invasive anyone?). “The timing and amplitude varied from person to person, [and] it was less intense than the two work peaks earlier in the day,” a company blog post reads. See the above image for a visual rendering of the data!
Additional context on the findings:
- Triple Peaking isn’t necessarily bad. Many folks prefer to take an afternoon break and make up for it in the evening. Problems arise when a break never comes.
- Working late isn't all that new. Autonomous workers (e.g. writers, programmers) have long set their own hours according to personal preference and workload.
- What’s is new: merging office/home duties. “People are taking on additional day duties [like] helping with schooling or being a caretaker. That’s pushing people to work later,” notes Gloria Mark, UC Irvine professor.
Net-net, some are happy to exploit anytime/anywhere flexibility, while others are just plain working too much. Side note: how are Microsoft workers so productive after lunch?!