A recent Blind study has revealed that 45% of tech workers spend less than four hours each day on “focused work”.
Instead, they spend the rest of their time in meetings, fire-fighting and catching up on correspondence and admin tasks. While this lack of focus on high level tasks can impact career progression, especially if not all workers are in the same boat, it also raises a bigger question: is the nine-to-five model on the way out?
For the most part, hybrid working has been accepted as the new normal across all sectors, with research from Microsoft showing that both employers and employees have seen an increase in productivity, and a more even work life balance.
The success of hybrid working, coupled with the Blind study statistics supports the call from some quarters for radical flexibility to allow workers to fit their professional tasks around their own schedule, working at a time that suits them best.
For example, some are early birds. This cohort prefers to power through focused tasks early in order to win the day. Others prefer to focus later at night when it’s quiet and peaceful. Of course radical flexibility requires some communal time together for collaboration and project work––but in areas like tech, the argument for it is growing.
Of course, not all companies will embrace radical flexibility immediately, and so in the meantime, here are some ways to ensure you don’t waste time on admin tasks and meaningless meetings that could be spent on higher-level projects.
Insist that all meetings that require your attendance come with an agenda and a proposed outcome. This will put a stop to the “let’s have a meeting to catch up” approach that can eat into your day and not actually result in a proactive outcome.
Turn off your phone, log out of emails and silence Slack. Do whatever you have to do so that you can focus, uninterrupted. Career progression often depends on going above and beyond your job description, which can be hard to do if you spend the majority of your time replying to every CC mail that comes into your inbox.
For every two hours of focused work we do, workers are advised to take a 20 minute break. Not only is this good for your body and health, but it also helps your mind switch off so that it can return to a focused state. Powering through without taking adequate breaks is counter-productive: your mind will start to slow down.
If you can’t figure out where your day goes or what tasks take up the majority of your time, use time tracking software such as Personio to get a helicopter view of your day.
Of course, the fact remains that these tips and tricks only work if your colleagues and boss are supportive and encouraging. If you work in a company that requires you to be constantly “on” when it comes to communication and it’s not serving you, then you might need to switch roles to a company that will enable you to progress through focused work.
The City AM Job Board is full of roles with companies who either support radical flexibility or trust employees enough to let them manage their own responsibilities and time. Three companies which are currently hiring highlighted below.
Ecommerce giant Zalando is currently operational in 25 countries, has 400 active partners and will add four fulfillment centers to its existing network by the end of this year. Zalando offers workers a generous discount and profit sharing scheme as well as traditional perks including health insurance and pension contributions. It also encourages flexible working across its European offices. The company is currently hiring for a number of roles for its London office, including Principal Software Engineer and a Data Optimization Manager. Browse the City AM job board for more roles at Zalando.
Zilch is Europe’s fastest-ever company to go from Series A to unicorn status in just 14 months, and its buy now pay later capability has changed how people bank. Zilch is also committed to the welfare of its workforce, offering employment benefits such as pension contribution, health insurance and onsite perks. The company also operates a flexible workplace and provides discretionary performance based bonuses. Currently hiring for a Credit Risk Analyst and an IT Service Level Analyst, you can also discover more open roles available at Zilch.
Fintech company Zopa is a personal lender that uses open banking to create a platform that enables you to borrow money without putting up any security. It’s also committed to the welfare of its workers – recently announcing that all workers can work from anywhere in the world for up to 120 days a year without impacting their compensation. Zopa also offers generous parental leave, support employees with paid days off for the loss of a pet and encourages flexibility during the work day. The company is currently hiring for an Engineering Manager and an Atlassian Administrator with more roles at Zopa also available here.