Rhythm of Work: Mixed-methods Characterization of Information Workers Scheduling Preferences and Practices

by   Lu Sun, et al.

As processes around hybrid work, spatially distant collaborations, and work-life boundaries grow increasingly complex, managing workers' schedules for synchronous meetings has become a critical aspect of building successful global teams. However, gaps remain in our understanding of workers' scheduling preferences and practices, which we aim to fill in this large-scale, mixed-methods study of individuals calendars in a multinational organization. Using interviews with eight participants, survey data from 165 respondents, and telemetry data from millions of meetings scheduled by 211 thousand workers, we characterize scheduling preferences, practices, and their relationship with each other and organizational factors. We find that temporal preferences can be broadly classified as either cyclical, such as suitability of certain days, or relational, such as dispersed meetings, at various time scales. Furthermore, our results suggest that these preferences are disconnected from actual practice–albeit with several notable exceptions–and that individual differences are associated with factors like meeting load, time-zones, importance of meetings to job function, and job titles. We discuss key themes for our findings, along with the implications for calendar and scheduling systems and socio-technical systems more broadly.


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