Tips for running a business when you struggle with 9-5

Superscript
15 July 2021
3 minute read

Do you get your best work done at the crack of dawn? Or maybe you happily tinker away into the night. Whether you’re an early bird, night owl or can only work when inspiration strikes, it can be hard to run a company when most of the business world operates from 9-5.

And while more businesses are embracing flexible working, it seems the conventional working hours we're used to are going to be around for a while longer.

If you’re wondering how to navigate being a boss while keeping a schedule that works best for you, this article shares some tips that will make sure you can still run your business smoothly.

Address it

When it comes to anything out of the ordinary, it’s always best to be transparent – your staff, clients or customers will appreciate your honesty and, with just a short message or line in your email signature, will understand the way you like to work.

If you’re one for answering emails or instant messages to colleagues late at night or super early, they may feel like they have an obligation to reply, especially if you’re the boss or a senior team member. In this case, acknowledge that you often work late or early and that you don’t expect a response right away.

Get some structure

If you’re a sporadic worker who gets things done in beats and pulses, it’s important to still maintain some structure in your day. This is because a well-defined routine gives us the chance to use our time in the most efficient way.

It doesn’t matter if your day starts at 3pm or 3am, if you have a routine, your body and brain won’t have to worry so much about making decisions, allowing you to get right to the task at hand.

If the idea of a routine scares you, don’t worry. A routine can be as simple as sitting in the same place every day, which tells your brain it’s time for work, or just showering, getting dressed and going for a walk outside.

Give your staff flexible hours

All employees have a legal right to flexible hours, but instead of operating this on an individual basis, a lot more employers are offering flexible working to the whole company as a benefit. This could encompass both flexible hours and locations – although keep in mind that if you’re hiring people on a global scale, you also have different time zones to contend with.

While it’s been known to increase productivity and morale, make sure to maintain some structure with scheduled check-ins or in-person meetings so you don’t lose touch with your team. Another way to stay organised here is to get your team using one project management or workflow tool like Trello or Asana. That way everyone can see what everyone else is working on without having to be in contact at the same time.

Remember, if you employ people, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance in the UK.

Set scheduled emails

Whether you want to keep your unconventional working hours a secret or are worried about maintaining a professional image, scheduling emails can put your mind at ease.

Most email providers will have the capability to set your email to land in the recipients inbox at a time that you’d prefer.

Be on call

Even if you’re not technically ‘working’ during conventional hours, make it clear to the people in your business that you’re still contactable if there’s anything that needs answering right away.

This makes sure that your employees get a quick answer when they need one, but it might be worth reiterating that this is only for emergencies or it may eat into your downtime.

Block out your day

If your most productive hours are during regular business hours but you can’t seem to focus with all the messages and emails flying about, block out a few hours in your calendar each day marked ‘Do not disturb’ or something similar so you can work completely uninterrupted.

This blog post has been written as part of our Business is Personal campaign, which explores what it's like to be your own boss at this moment in time.

If you’d like to find out what kind of boss you’d be, why not take our quiz and see what you get!

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