When it comes to managing our time at work, we’re stuck in an old way of operating that isn’t good for individuals or for businesses. Our work culture typically is characterised by short-termism, speed, bureaucracy and volume. This might work for a few but disadvantages many: being able to get in and get on in this “time culture” is highly dependent on our gender, our personal situation, our demographic and our willingness to make sacrifices in terms of our own wellbeing. At the heart of these issues lie our problematic attitudes towards how we spend our time at work.
Addressing these long-standing cultural issues requires us to fix the system: how our organisations and work processes are designed, what we reward and celebrate, and how our physical and virtual environments impact our ability to work at our best. We need to make conscious, strategic choices about how we want to be investing our future time.
Valuing and managing time more strategically might sound a complex and intangible goal to achieve, but it can be tackled in very concrete, practical ways. I have found that organisations that do this share six particular traits, and managers play a pivotal role in cultivating these, and fostering a healthier, more productive time culture.
Few organisations are successfully living all six traits; the point is that they describe an aspirational set of outcomes to work towards and they equip us to have conversations about the kind of time culture we want for the future.
I will take you through each trait and explain some of the concrete ways that you as a manager can help foster a more positive time culture in your own organisation.
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