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The new era of chrono-working

A call for change


The 9 to 5 has been a long-held and accepted standard of the modern worker; in fact, it seems so intrinsic to our lives that we’d be hard-pressed to believe there was any other way to work at all. But the fact of the matter is that, for most of us, the 9 to 5 can seem more like an uphill struggle than a helpful boundary for working hours. Luckily, there’s a new era on the horizon.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself clockwatching, battling mid-afternoon fatigue, or hitting your stride just before you are due to log off for the day, it’s likely that you’re not the problem; your working structure is.

Keep reading to discover the new trend of chrono-working which is turning the 9 to 5 on its head and empowering people to harness their productivity on their terms.

A brief history of working hours

To understand the future, it’s important to understand the past. After all, our ways of working aren’t dictated by chance but by the cultural context work has at the time.

Long before Zoom, fax machines, and even factories, people worked in daylight, they hunted, gathered, and collected what they needed to survive until sundown, but as society advanced, so did working. In the industrial age, people worked 70-hour weeks on low salaries dictated by unchecked business owners. This was a dark time for workers and, ultimately, it was the catalyst for the unions to introduce the revolutionary 9 to 5, 6-day work weeks.

What seems binding about these hours now was freeing then. It protected people’s health, and it was a moment of astronomical change in people’s lifestyles. However, this 9 to 5 revolution was widely implemented in the 1920s…well over a century ago. So much has changed in those years, from our jobs to where and how we do them. And yet, these hours have stayed the same.

Now, with many types of work unified to standard business hours, offices spread far and wide, and home working a common reality, many of us are starting to question if the hours of the past are right for us. So, instead of sticking to the past, why not start asking, what’s the future?


Clockwise Wood Green

Introducing chrono-working

From the sun to the unregulated demands of bosses and now to modern management, our working hours have been on a journey, and the next step, it seems, is putting the control back into our own hands.

Chrono-working is the practice of working to our body’s natural rhythm. It’s about assessing what we need at what points of the day and how we can hack our time into a personal productivity schedule.

Let’s take a look at an example of how people are using chrono-working to better their days. Those who wake early and crash around 3pm are moving their hours forward and prioritising more intense thinking tasks when they have the most energy, whilst saving admin for slumps. The same tailoring behaviours are being adapted by late risers who struggle with intense work in the morning.

While chrono-working is based on the common circadian rhythm, which sees most people peak around 12 and slump around 3 pm, it has expanded to a more personal and tailored approach that takes into account individual rhythms and priorities.

Interested? Keep reading to see how to implement this into your workday.

How to implement chrono-working

Changing a well-established pattern can initially seem daunting, but with rave reviews from many chrono-workers, it’s a path worth learning.

Start by tracking your productivity peaks and your energy dips. This can be as simple as noting it down on a notepad or as advanced as downloading a productivity tracking app that allows you to add further details.

Once you have established your productivity patterns, categorise the types of work you feel most productive doing at these times. You might find that in energy slumps, you are easier to distract; why not block out this time in your calendar and remove any external distractions? Try scheduling meetings at your most energetic peaks to increase focus and participation. Save your admin work for times when you are struggling with more intense thinking tasks.

Once you’re comfortable with your new routine, you can discuss your working hours with your manager. It is beneficial to your company that you are on top form throughout the day too, so having an open discussion on how you personally work best and how that can be supported is a conversation worth having.

Chrono-working might seem like a purely work-focused tool, but harnessing your productivity can extend beyond your work hours into your personal life, too. From big tasks to life admin, once learned, it is a skill that can improve work quality, wellness, and overall happiness.

Chrono-working is perfect for flexible office working; it allows you to coordinate your most productive days with in-person visits and switch gears into hybrid work during busier periods. Flexible offices like Clockwise also provide a range of workspaces, from quiet single rooms to buzzing breakout areas and beyond, you can flow between spaces depending on your productivity needs. If you’re looking for an office space that offers all of this alongside beautiful, aesthetic design, check out our website, find a Clockwise near you, and get in touch.

Working from home? Why not check out the Clockwise Campus? This META platform is our newest and most flexible way of working yet. The digital world is designed with the same modern aesthetic as our real-world offices, so you can enjoy classic Clockwise relaxation and focus from home. The Clockwise Campus is also open 365, 24/7, and it is always daytime, making it the perfect solution for people whose productivity comes to them at all hours of the day.

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