The 9 to 5 schedule has been slowly fading out of popularity for years, but the traditional workday is experiencing another major shift — experts call it the “triple peak day.”

The modern workforce is full of creative ways to build a workday. But is the new triple peak approach a benefit or concern for managers? It depends on how they handle this transformation.

Let’s talk about some of the challenges and perks of this new trend.

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What is a triple peak day?

With a triple peak workday, employees sign off early in the afternoon and log back on later at night to finish their work.

Historically, there have been two peak productivity times in the workday: before and after lunch. The pandemic and subsequent remote work ushered in a sudden flexibility in hours. As people adapted and could work on their own terms, a new peak was formed: right before bedtime.

Data supports this pattern: Microsoft Teams chats outside the typical workday increased more than at any other time, especially between 6-8 PM. Microsoft researchers were among the first to coin this new trend as a “triple peak day.”

The quiet evening hours often offer a second chance to finish their work.

This schedule can make childcare easier for employees or allow them to attend workout classes. Hybrid and in-office staff can use this peak to get things done after rush hour.

How managers can embrace the triple peak workday

Savvy managers know anything that improves your employee experience is worth considering. The triple peak day follows the key covenants of people-first management: allowing your team to manage their own time, enabling them to own their work, and being flexible with employees when possible.

Happy, engaged employees drive profits.

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of a team member who only works when they are more productive and eager to get things done. These employees will be more efficient, better at collaborating, and more creative.

Asynchronous work may be challenging for collaboration or urgent issues, but its work-life balance benefits are impossible to overlook. Flexible schedules are a significant opportunity for managers looking to retain talent and improve productivity.

How we use flexible scheduling to our benefit at Hubstaff

At Hubstaff, our team is fully remote and widely dispersed. We all work on different schedules, spanning time zones and continents.

For us, it’s not that complicated. We know our closest teammates’ core hours and are mindful of those time frames when sending critical tasks or questions. Once you learn to work this way, operating around other’s schedules becomes second nature.

There are countless perks to this working style, but one significant bonus of flexible scheduling that I’ve noticed is that I don’t have to work when I don’t feel well or am suddenly feeling unproductive.

For many in-office employees, when they feel slightly sick, they work through it — with significant harm to productivity. Or, they take eight hours of sick leave, roadblocking projects, and missing an entire workday for what may be only a few hours of sickness.

Flexibility offers greater options.

If I get a sudden headache in the afternoon, I can take an Advil and lay down for an hour or two until I feel better, and then I get back to work. For my team, this means deadlines aren’t missed. For me, it’s a huge relief not to struggle through work while feeling sick. It’s a win-win.

This flexibility also extends to other areas of life, from exercise to childcare. The key is that productive hours are spent working, and employees can log off when they need to reset and recharge.

Is there a risk to this new productivity peak?

Increased flexibility can lead to the many benefits we’ve already discussed, but it’s essential to know that the triple peak day has its pitfalls.

“It raises the question, ‘Is this about flexibility, or is it about work encroaching on someone’s personal hours?” says Shamsi Iqbal, Microsoft Research and Viva Insights.

One significant sign of burnout managers learned to watch for is working outside of work hours. This typical symptom of burnout may instead be a sign that your team is utilizing the triple peak day and has a healthy relationship with their work — one that benefits from a last quick review before bed so they have an hour free during the day.

On the other hand, some team members who log in from 6-9 PM may be overworking themselves and at risk of burnout. The difference between these two employees is nuanced and will require honest conversations about workloads, expectations, and burnout.

These conversations should already happen in 1:1 meetings and reviews, but managers must learn to discuss these issues organically and often if they aren’t.

Workforce management software can help 

With a triple peak workday, what matters is the work accomplished, not the time frame that employee’s hours fit into. But more important is ensuring your team isn’t burnt out and struggling to complete their work within their allotted hours.

Hubstaff Insights gives you actionable workforce insights to guide engaged, profitable teams. Workforce management tools allow you to see how your team spends their time, giving you more insight into whether they are overworked.

Managers with this level of transparency can track and manage their team’s time more efficiently. Plus, you can help your team manage their time by identifying and preventing excessive meetings with the Insights meeting time widget.

With the right tools, you can help your team harness their most productive energy at the right time to create the best possible outcomes for everyone.

Category: Employee Productivity