Calling the rhythm of business life
As the days grow shorter and cool autumn winds start to blow it is hard to ignore the pattern of life, the rhythm of the world which calls on us to adapt our lives in response to seasonal changes. And this basic rhythm is a thread which runs through everything we do, through our leisure pursuits, our personal time and even our businesses.
Now three scientists from the USA have uncovered the secrets of the body clock, building an understanding for the first time of the way in which people’s circadian rhythms keep in tune with the movement of the earth. The discovery has earned the scientists a shared Nobel Prize but it has much wider importance in the way in which we view and understand the impact of the world on our daily lives.
There have already been studies on the effects of too little or too much sleep on mental and physical health. However, this new discovery also sheds light on the way in which our body clock can affect mood, alertness, our approach to food; and even the risk of a number of health issues including cancer, depression and heart attacks. It is hoped that building an understanding of our body clocks can pave the way for new treatments and new approaches.
Obviously this discovery will also have knock on effects for businesses. The importance of employee wellness is growing as a business topic and certainly helping people to be on top form when in the office can only be a good thing for business; helping to cut down on errors, boost positive interactions and so on.
But the rhythm of business life is more than simply that which is engendered by employees. Depending on the nature of the business there are inevitably peaks and troughs, times when customer or supplier interactions are highest, and times when business demand quietens down. Understanding those patterns helps business leaders to prepare and plan, to ensure that appropriate resources are available as required.
Even something as simple as the way in which customers contact the business by telephone can be better planned and managed if the rhythm of business life is understood. Is there a need for phone calls to be managed in a different way at certain peak times; perhaps by requiring employees to pause their normal work and take their turn in answering calls, or by deploying an answerphone or virtual assistant service? Would it pay multinational businesses to adopt a ‘follow the sun’ telephone answering pattern in order to ensure that calls are always answered in house no matter what time of day they are made? Even something as simple as caller recognition allied to an automated divert system could help businesses to better manage peak calling times; with calls being automatically switched to the right sector of the business depending on their point of origin.
Taking time to understand the rhythms of the business could make a measurable difference not only to customer interactions but also to employee wellbeing. Managing calls effectively can help to reduce stress and that will in turn help employees to better manage their own workloads. We then have a self-feeding cycle in which employees who are less stressed in their turn feel more able to bring positivity to customer service.
Do you understand the rhythms of your business life? You may not win a Nobel Prize for finding out but you may just be able to improve the life of the business and its customers.