Are you an owl or a lark? Or simply just a tired pigeon! And how does this impact on your workplace wellbeing?
I’m a night owl and if I’m honest have struggled for most of my working life with a bias towards early risers. Being in an office and present at 9am seems a bit of a shock to the system! Working from home has liberated me. No more commuting or overly spending time on my appearance, no missing breakfast and no great rush or worry about the time as I fling myself out of the door at some ungodly hour of the morning!
I don’t know about you, but if you are also an owl, you may have had people ‘tut’ or laugh at your morning struggles. ‘The early bird catches the worm,’ and other comments, are not always helpful. It has become okay to mock the owls, and that can have consequences in the workplace.
Whereas a lark may be seen as virtuous and hard-working as they tackle tasks with gusto in the morning, rarely does one comment on a late afternoon burst of productivity by an owl. But I would think that wouldn’t I! In fact, there are pros and cons to both sets of behaviour and the key to workplace wellbeing is understanding your sleep pattern or ‘chronotype’ and making it work best for you.
Larks, for example, may struggle with parts of the working day, such as evening networking or team building. The key is to understand where you fit on the sleep pattern spectrum.
Studies have suggested that many of us are in fact somewhere in the middle of the sleep scale, but how much of that is governed by what society expects us to do? In one interesting study by ‘Alert at Work’ they discovered that 85% of people have to follow an early bird schedule, but if they had a choice, only 22% would continue with it.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could structure our days according to our natural rhythms, leading to better productivity and wellbeing.
As an owl, please don’t set a meeting at 9am, I won’t be at my best! As a lark, I may be tired after lunch, give me something non-taxing for a while whilst I recover! If we can try to align our working schedules to our bodily schedules by allowing flexibility and removing judgment, wouldn’t that be a better working environment for us all?!
Oh and spare a thought for those tired pigeons amongst us. Described as someone who is simply exhausted and worn out and in need of a good rest! Wherever you fit on our feathered friend’s scale may you find or create an environment that suits your chronotype and wellbeing.
“There are larks and there are owls, and both have their stories written in the sun and moon.” – Michelle M. Pillow