When you are doing sports, the answer is an obvious yes. Athletes vary the intensity all the time to put their bodies under stress and to improve their performance. The question is whether this could also be beneficial at work?
In a soccer match, you cannot go full speed from start to finish. Sure, you might have a good start, but you will deplete your resources quickly and your opponent will probably take advantage of that and win. What I’d like to try out at work is a similar way of approaching work. I am not sure over which period, but I think only the experience will tell. But let us take a normal work week.
You might have weeks in which the pressure is on because there is a deadline to meet. Those are high intensity weeks. We work long hours, there is a lot of stress, and once it is over we get sick or at least feel sick. I don’t think this is a healthy way of working. I also think that this not entirely due to the massive amounts of work during those times, but maybe also because we are not “trained” for those periods. Again, this is just a thought and I don’t have proof for it, yet. You might also have weeks during which you don’t have much to do, but you act busy nonetheless. Those are equally draining.
The question is whether it is possible during normal weeks to play around with the work intensity. Maybe this means that you only work for 7 hours on Monday, then 8 hours on Tuesday, 9 hours on Wednesday and 10 hours on Thursday, and you end the week with 6 hours of work. Maybe you can also play around with those hours a bit. Maybe you want to have your highest intensity on different day.
The goal is to not only train our bodies and minds to endure several long days and staying healthy while doing it, but also to be okay with days with less work. This of course, also needs management support and it should be part of an open and honest culture to also tell when there is not so much to do.
Or maybe this doesn’t make sense at all. What does make sense is to look beyond our offices and see what other people or professions do. Maybe we can copy something that will help us, too.
Take care, Stephan