- Remote workers taking afternoons off are powering a boom in golfing and other leisure activities.
- Tom Maganas has been operating on that schedule for about 20 years. He says it’s worked for him.
- Maganas likes to work from about 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., then pick back up around dinnertime.
If you’re looking for Tom Maganas in the afternoon, you might want to try the golf green or the ski slopes.
Maganas, 60, is one of the many American remote workers powering an afternoon-leisure boom. He works from about 7:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. at his sales job, takes the afternoon off to get outside and do things he enjoys in his home state of Pennsylvania, and then usually picks back up with work before dinnertime.
That type of schedule, which Maganas has had for about 20 years, has become increasingly popular with the widespread adoption of remote work.
“Breaking off and making my schedule the way it is now, it makes it a lot easier to manage my focus, my energy, and just my overall attitude with the way I approach the work that I do,” he said. “It’s been good.”
Research from Nick Bloom, a Stanford University economist who’s studied remote work for nearly 20 years, and his colleague Alex Finan tracks a rise in split schedules for those who are remote. Using data from the car GPS software Inrix and a map of 3,400 golf courses around the country, they tracked how many people were hitting the green at given times from April 2019 to November 2022.
They found not only that people were golfing more as of August 2022 but that they were increasingly golfing on weekday afternoons. Wednesday at 4 p.m. had become the new peak time for weekday golfing. While those results are limited to golfing activity, the researchers believe it’s likely that people were also using their afternoons for things like hitting the gym or shopping.
“The simple story is on work-from-home days, it’s a great opportunity to do things like go to the dentist, play golf, go shopping when it’s quiet,” Bloom previously told Insider.
Maganas is proof of that. His flex schedule means that if he ends up having a really busy day, he can hit the links the next day to blow off some steam. In the summer, he’ll sometimes wake up at 6:30 to go play golf with the guys, then work from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., then pick back up later in the evening.
Afternoons of leisure could be a good thing for the economy
If he’s not golfing, Maganas might be spending his time working on his rental properties — he does all the maintenance himself. Or he might be fishing, skiing, or doing anything else that takes him outdoors.
Researchers say that workers like Maganas might be a boon all around. Worker productivity in the US grew over the last two quarters of 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When more workers take time during the day to golf, for example, golf courses make more money and are less likely to deal with bigger crowds at certain times. And the work that needs to be done still gets done.
“I don’t want to have any downtime. I don’t watch much TV. I want to be busy,” Maganas said. “So it’s a good way to fill my day by not just doing the same thing all day long and breaking up my primary responsibility, which is to make sales.”
The concept isn’t about working less or about less work getting done — it’s about working more on your own terms. That’s one of the things that’s inspired a rethink of work, especially the length of the workweek or even the workday; a recent pilot program of a four-day workweek in the UK found that participating companies made more revenue while workers reported feeling less stressed, less burned out, and better rested.
Maganas said that when he had a 9-to-5 job, he was “stressed every day.”
“It was a heavy burden because of the constriction of time, for the most part. It was very limited to the hours that I had for free time,” he said. “In the wintertime it was always dark, and in the summertime it was nice out but I couldn’t be outside.”
He said that stress went away when he left the office and realized he felt great coming back to work at 8 or 9 p.m. “It was like, wow, this is the way it should always be done,” he added.
For those considering a foray into the split schedule, Maganas recommends giving it a try and seeing whether it affects stress levels. He suggested that lower stress, as he experienced, would make you more productive.
“It’s definitely worth a try from a stress standpoint to try to manage your time and to get outside, you know? I think for anybody that’s going to help,” he said. “If you can step aside from work and just get outside, take a walk. You don’t have to play golf. You don’t have to fish. Just maybe take a walk.”