Chronoleadership refers to the application of findings from chronobiology to the field of leadership. The term chronoleadership is coined by Camilla Kring. Chronoleadership brings knowledge about chronobiology into the areas of leadership development, management training, HR, education and consulting.
In the knowledge society, it is common sense, both from a human and an economic point of view, to match a person’s work hours to his or her biological rhythm. We need a paradigm shift away from the classic 9–5 work hours, to individuals having a greater say about their work hours. This will result in higher productivity, healthier employees and a reduction in healthcare costs.
ADAPT WORKING HOURS TO CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS AND INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
A study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business shows that the time window in which office hours are placed greatly influences performance evaluations. Leaders tend to favour A-persons –– those who arrive at the office early. A later meeting time made managers consider the employee less conscientious. Researchers concluded that employees who worked from 7 A.M. to 3 P.M. were considered more conscientious, and received higher performance evaluations than employees who worked from 11 A.M. to 7 P.M. –– all despite the fact that both groups worked the same number of hours. Managers who are B-persons (late risers), however, are less likely to judge harshly those employees who prefer a later meeting time (Yam, Fehr and Barnes 2014).
It made sense to reward A-persons in the agricultural societies, where productivity depended on activity during daylight hours, but why should A-persons have a competitive advantage in a knowledge-based society, where an increasing number of work tasks can be solved with or without sunlight? We need to reassess the 9 to 5 culture and its lack of respect for the B-person’s circadian rhythm.
Give A-persons A-person work hours and B-persons B-person work hours. Being able to control one’s own time will increase both the quality of life and productivity of the individual.
A LATER START FOR b-PERSONS MAY REDUCE TIME SPENt ON TRANSPORT
We have an infrastructure issue four hours a day, as we use the roads at the same time in the morning when we go to work, and in the afternoon when we go home from work. Different start times will help solve the infrastructure issue in towns and cities. If B-persons start after 10 am, the traffic will be spread out over a longer period of time, both on the roads and cycle paths in the towns and cities. This would mean less idle running and lower CO2 emissions, as well as a shorter travel time for individuals. There are great savings to be made.
A LATER STARTING TIME WILL REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SOCIAL JETLAG AND IMPROVE HEALTH
80% of the population in Europe, USA and Asia are woken up by an alarm clock.
Unfortunately society is still organised to fit the early chronotypes and the people who prefer to work beginning early in the morning. This is also true for kindergartens, schools, and work places.
A society that dictates early morning working hours for everyone will cause health problems for late chronotypes. Circadian rhythm and well-being are closely connected.
The difference between biological time (internal clock) and social time (school and work hours) is called social jetlag. The 9–5 society sets B-persons up for poorer health, as B-persons experience greater social jetlag. If there is a five-hour difference between when you get up on school/work days and when you get up on days off, you have five hours’ social jetlag – and it is in this category that we find 60 per cent of smokers. By comparison, ten percent of smokers are found in the section of the population that does not experience social jetlag. Research shows that for every hour of social jetlag, the risk of obesity increases by 33 per cent.
B-PERSONS HAVE A 10 PERCENT HIGHER RISK OF DYING THAN A-PERSONS
In 2018 a study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom (UK), on nearly half a million participants in the UK Biobank Study, found that B-persons have a 10 percent higher risk of dying than A-persons. In the study sample, 50,000 people were more likely to die in the 6½ -year period sampled.
Late chronotypes generally consume more invigorating stimuli like coffee and sugar than early risers in an attempt to fit into the dictated working time. Other downsides include the attempts of late chronotypes to ease stress with substances like nicotine or alcohol, or to use various medications in the quest to get enough sleep. Additionally, the alienation due to feelings of not fitting into the work schedule can lead to stress and stress-related illnesses. Furthermore, it is observed that late risers between the age of 31 and 40 have an increased risk of developing depression disorders.
It would be advisable to reduce the amount of social jetlag by adjusting the time that schools and workplaces start to human chronotypes.
Productivity and quality of life can be improved by letting people synchronize their work lives with their biological clocks. In a knowledge-based society getting up early in the morning is no longer what is important. Instead it is about working when you are most productive.
80 percent of the population are woken up by an alarm clock – or by their smartphone. We interrupt our sleep to fit into some time structures from the agricultural society and the industrial society. We have to create new time architectures for the 21st century.