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Welcome to the Time Economy

READ TIME: 5 MINUTES

Patrick Moran, June 16, 2022

The next decade is going to be defined by how we manage our time — our most precious resource. The pandemic's impact on an always-on workforce has caused many of us to rethink how we allocate and optimize our time. It’s been a wake-up call, and a catalyst for change that’s been a long time coming. 

Calendly is hardly the first company to point to a pattern and designate it an economy. It’s familiar nomenclature whenever there’s a shift in our values or a shift in human behavior: the convenience economy, the anywhere economy, the subscription economy, the data economy. But I believe the Time Economy captures how, in our current moment and going forward, time is the new currency, and software’s next frontier is solving the problem: How do we optimize our time to better connect with one another?

That’s why we surveyed 1,000 knowledge workers across roles, industries, and company sizes to learn more about how they value and use their time, as well as their attitudes and frustrations regarding how their time is spent at work. And the data reveal sentiments that Calendly, Zapier, Zoom, Salesforce, Gong and other product-led software companies have staked their businesses on:

  • Time is highly valued – and there’s not enough of it.

  • Giving people more control over their schedules leads to happier workers. 

  • The right tools are critical to workers, and majorly impact productivity. 

 Read the full report here.

How we got here: We are in a time crisis


“Arguably, the technology advances of this new era may have had a net negative affect on our ability to communicate and collaborate. Work [now] resembles a web that crosses structures, P&L boundaries, legal entities, cultures, time zones, and languages. … The pace of communications has increased exponentially. … Today, many managers, leaders, and knowledge workers wake up each morning and scan tens or hundreds of emails and texts before they get out of bed. Communication volume has increased from all directions. Internally, tracking the status of work takes countless emails, status meetings, and phone calls.”
— White Paper on the Future of Work Research Study,
Deloitte


Amid the Great Resignation, companies across the globe have been forced to face a truth they’ve long avoided: Employees are exhausted, overextended, and unhappy. While people may still be dedicated to their careers and organizations’ success, they’re also taking stock of what matters to them — and it’s not the ability to respond to an email within five minutes. People want to be able to control their availability. They want their time back.

Yet still, we’re operating in a time crisis. In often insidious ways that seek to control and monopolize our time, technology is working against us. Notifications have infiltrated every moment of our day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes. Even though it’s not necessarily driving productivity up, a quarter of our day is spent answering emails and checking our mobile phones (on average 150 times per day). It doesn’t leave us a lot of space to do meaningful work, or spend quality time with the people closest to us.

Technology’s role in the Time Economy

At work, many of us quickly adopted new services to help us adapt to the new normal. Some of this technology made our lives easier, and we wondered how we lived without it. In other cases, workplace communication and culture haven’t caught up with the hybrid, work-from-anywhere world, and some tools and processes still make us want to tear our hair out.

In the future, technology needs to work for us; not against us. It needs to give us time, not take it away. It needs to reconnect us with others, not get in the way. The technology that helps people reduce tedium, use their time wisely, and add meaning to their work will be the technology that sticks. 

In case you need proof, Calendly’s Time Economy Report shows that time spent using or managing inefficient productivity and collaboration tools is the No. 1 factor that negatively impacts productivity at work. Even compared to meetings we don’t need to be in, different workplace models, irrelevant emails and inconveniently timed meetings, and even family/other obligations, people cite bad tools as the reason they’re not as productive as they could be.

It’s therefore incumbent upon company leaders to make investments to digitally transform their business processes with a focus on time management — both the company’s time, and their customers’ time. Any tools that cost workers their precious time will be scrutinized — not for sheer productivity gains, but for people’s own personal sanity. 

Automate everything, but design for the human experience 

We must embrace the next wave of technology and services that automate the inefficiency out of every interaction, so people can focus on the work that matters. 

Like other automation platforms, Calendly eliminates tedium to focus instead on what’s meaningful, and fills in gaps between other big tech systems. The salesperson trying to find time with their ideal customer, for example, or the recruiter attempting to connect with top talent, isn’t willing to put up with any system that gets in the way of their goals. They value their time too much. 

The Time Economy is a movement against anything that takes time away from people — our part in it is helping give people control of their availability. Our entire mission as a company is to take the work out of connecting with others so teams can accomplish more. 

Human connection and collaboration drive the world forward. We win in business, our personal lives, and in the Time Economy when we make intentional decisions to protect everyone’s time.

Read the Time Economy Report


Patrick Moran biography
Patrick Moran

Patrick Moran is CMO at Calendly.

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