The New Normal A Day in the Life

We spent some time with three executives to understand how their work styles and schedules are shaping up these days. What we found were three people trying to balance both their personal and professional lives in a time where specified work hours are a thing of the past.

Margaret Alrutz
Director of Healthcare Strategy
Nurture by SteelcaseGrand Rapids, Mich.


6-8 a.m. Prepping/Commute I wake up and grab my phone right away to make sure that there’s no urgent email or calls that need to be responded to before I start getting ready. I check that a couple of times before I leave the house. On my way into the office, I’ll get a couple of phone calls in, and sometimes I actually have conference calls scheduled for the morning on my way in.
8-8:30 a.m. Personal Work I’ll usually at least try to stop into one of the hoteling stations, check my schedule, and see if there’s anything I can quickly finish, otherwise I’m probably headed straight into a meeting.
8:30-11 a.m. Strategy Meetings
11 a.m-Noon Conference Call CANCELED I’ll think twice before I move a meeting; it’s not something you take lightly. You think that people are flexible and schedules are changing all of the time, but at the same time, your day is so packed that if you do decide to move a meeting, you’d better have a good sense of where that’s going to be, because you could be a couple weeks out on somebody’s calendar.
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch Appointment Right now our café is under construction, so we walk next door to the WorkCafe at the [Steelcase] headquarters building. Sometimes I’ll say, “I’ll be five minutes late so I can grab lunch.” Sometimes folks will just walk with me and say, “Can we meet over there?” And we’ll start the meeting as we’re walking, grab lunch and try to find a spot to work.
1-2 p.m. Concentrated Work There’s a very large space at the headquarters’ campus—if I’m over there for a lunch meeting, and I have time to get some work done, I might just stay in that building and feel pretty confident that I could find a space to just kind of hang out, and nobody would look at me sideways … Space is fungible, in the sense that I don’t have to be at my own space to get things done.
2-5 p.m. Decision Meetings
5-6 p.m. Winding Down I’ll frequently have conference calls that start at 5 or 5:30, which I try to plan to be in the car for. I’ll do a couple of things if I’m not on a conference call. I’ll call family or friends, just to catch up with them. I start to reconnect with home and the different things I have to do, or just reconnect with them in general.

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