The 24-hour Work Clock
I was with a big International client yesterday interviewing him about the challenges his team of engineers face and how we were going to create a powerful forum for them to talk about those challenges during the Helping Hands program.
One of the things that struck me after he described his 20-hour workdays, sleeping only four hours per night was the concept of the 24-hour work clock. With the enormous contribution that APAC (Asia-Pacific) has on engineering, leaders of large US corporations have learned that while they can’t ask any one person to work 24 hours per day, they have learned that efficiency and productivity can be improved by focusing on the productive times (daylight) in different time zones. This allows an organization to have a fresh mind pounding out of ideas and solutions 24-hours per day.
Of course, the issue is with those who lead these 24-hour teams. For this particular team of leaders they all reside in San Diego so they are seeing and unofficially ‘expected’ to work around the clock. “Sleep is for those who can’t work”.
So, what a break it was to take a three-hour block of time and have them discuss the pros and cons of this kind of approach. As with all Odyssey Teams programs, the discussion was generated through a powerful experience of building prosthetic hands for others.
I don’t know many people who can manage on only 4 hours of sleep and pull 20 hours of work day after day. If the world is moving to a 24-hour clock, we best help with a new understanding of what ‘work’ means.