This is Part 3 of a five part series discussing the importance of the work environment. The work
environment includes your physical body and your natural rhythm. Do you perform more work
in the beginning of your day and become very drowsy at about three o’clock in the afternoon?
These tendencies are caused by your natural rhythm and can be utilized to increase your
The scientific term for your internal body clock is called Circadian Rhythms. You are
programmed to be a morning person, lark, or a night owl. Knowing your individual rhythm
allows you the opportunity to organize your work schedule in order to maximize your
productivity. It is important for the organization to understand the individual rhythms of their
staff and benefit from the energy highs and lows.
The usual pattern is that it takes a few hours in the morning for the hormone levels in the staff to
peak. Once that occurs, energy will continue until about one in the afternoon. At this point the
energy levels start dropping until about three o’clock in the afternoon. Energy will again to start
to peak around six in the evening.
It is important for a lark or a night owl to analyze their individual energy shifts and schedule work
assignments in relation to these shifts. It is important that a manager understands the individual
shifts of the team members in order to monitor performance. It will be necessary for all team
members to be considerate of the individual differences that may occur on the team.
If a staff member is more productive in the morning, then work assignments should be given
the day before or very early in the morning. A short nap of approximately twenty minutes would
be beneficial at three o’clock in the afternoon to counteract the low energy time. It is important
not to sleep longer than twenty minutes. A break for relaxation at three o’clock might be a
practical attempt to allow a short rest period. Deadlines should be made in relation to the
energy shifts of the staff.
The staff that are larks should be scheduled to start work early in the day and be allowed to stop
working by three o’clock. Night owls should be allowed to start later in the morning such as ten
or eleven and be allowed to work later in the day. All staff should be allowed the flexibility to
schedule their working hours to their individual energy shifts. Productivity and morale will
increase. Managers will need training to evaluate the best schedules for their staff and be
tolerant of the differences. It should be remembered that the goal is the production of work and
not the actual hours periods that are used to perform the work.