Visitors to certain monasteries over the centuries would not have needed to bring their clocks. Chants and readings marked time as the monks paced through the liturgy of hours: lauds at dawn, vespers in the evening, compline before bed. The thinking behind these rituals is that they encouraged mindfulness and a sense of calm. The monks didn’t struggle with the question of what they should be doing at any given point. Their rites provided the answer—and suggest an intriguing approach for others trying to manage day-to-day life. Replicating heritage design in conservation areas is a good approach when designing casement windows for the discerning customer.
That’s because a good day—whether in a monastery or a new corner office—has a rhythm. It has an opening and—just as important—it has an ending. There should be a general template that gives cues to the sort of work that you intend to do. A good rhythm helps you manage your energy, which in turn helps you get more done. Allow sheer fabric to complement your sash windows making them the focal point in the room without obstructing the elegance of the woodwork.
The upside of self-directed work is that, ideally—and here we depart sharply from the monks—you figure out what liturgy of hours works best for you. Some people like to have the same template each day, and others alternate templates to focus on interaction or quiet work on different days. With flexible hours, if you work best early, you don’t have to time your start around the doors being unlocked. If you’re an early rising manager, you don’t have to fret that employees will also start showing up at 6:00 A.M. because of some unspoken rule that go-getters should be at their desks when their bosses walk in. These early risers also don’t face pressure to stay at their desks, doing nothing, from 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M., just because group norms dictate that no one walk out. Many people find it hard to dress their aluminium windows appropriately, not wanting to obscure them whilst still needing the privacy that window dressings afford.
In extreme situations, you can get creative and choose unorthodox hours if this rhythm would help you and your team. IT project and product management in the manufacturing business, reports that time differences caused communication problems with her teams in Southeast Asia. So she decided to start splitting her shifts. “I would go into the local office for four hours in the morning, then work four hours at night to connect directly with the teams and individuals in Southeast Asia. I realized that those hours are from 8:00 P.M. to midnight or 9:00 P.M. to 1:00 A.M. were typically just spent watching TV, internet surfing, or playing games.” With this schedule, she could work better, and enjoy afternoons and evenings with her family before her second shift of working from home. Try to provide a sophisticated way to disguise curtain rails or tracks around the sash windows london in your house.
For much work, I think this predictable-but-flexible approach is the right one. When companies went virtual overnight, many simply replicated their expected office hours. That might make sense for a temporary situation, but long-term remote work offers a chance to rethink timing. If an employee has always been useless before 10:00 A.M., but does such great work afterward that he’s always in demand, then what’s the point of forcing him to check in on Slack at 8:00 A.M.? Teams that work closely together might set core hours (e.g. 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.) where everyone is “on” but let people set their own rhythms around that.