Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

The Importance of Core Hours

We just started a new program at the home office to increase efficiency and ensure that we were hitting a 40-hour work week, minimum.

There was too much flexibility in the way we were running the business when we first moved to Shanghai. There were the afternoon siestas, the late night movies, the mid-day gym activities and basketball. But that flexibility made us lose focus, and we had to regain focus to be more effective with our business. Our custom dress shirts couldn’t sew themselves if we weren’t doing what we had to do.

So we set three hour blocks which we call our core hours, and team members have to work at least twelve of those a week, and if we are more motivated, which we are, we work off-hours and more core hour shifts. But this was just to ensure that we were actually getting work done and working a minimum amount. Of course, it’s never about working harder, because it’s always about working harder, but there is a minimum threshold of work that you have to do to be effective at all.

We’re always working a few new interesting projects, and we have to spend some more time refining our product, especially our men’s slim dress shirts since the definition of slim varies, widely. Sometimes our slim dress shirts are perceived as fitted dress shirts, and sometimes we don’t even really know what our customer wants, so there’s just a lot of complication in figuring out how exactly to cut their dress shirt. Occasionally, we will get an annoyed email from a customer about their dress shirt not fitting.

We’re working hard to resolve the problem, and will figure out how to best manage our sizing to make more co-creation customers happy.

But getting back to core hours, we have had better focus so that we could keep getting awesome press coverage in places like TimeOut NY and The Australian.

We can also have time when we are all working together rather than picking random, scattered hours throughout the day to work. Working together at the same time allows us to bounce ideas off of each other as needed, and just keeps us motivated because we are all working hard toward the same end-goal.