Should employees be allowed to create their own hours?
Some of my team say they work best late at night, while others are most productive in the morning. Is it reasonable to allow them to make their own hours or do organizations perform best when the whole team is together for the most part during the 9-5 standard business hours?
Given the nature of business to day and what is effectively 24 hours a day servicing, I do not see why not. The number of 9-5:30 vacancies are starting to fall as more companies want to provide a 24 hours sevice, that includes traditional 9-5 posts such as Banks, and other Financial Services operations.
I notice that there is an increasing number of adverts which are implying a shift pattern, particularly with this mania and fixation employers have with call-centres. To that end there is no reason why an employee should not be able to create their own hours as those are bound to fit in to the employers business plan in any case.
Employers I am afraid are going to have learn that the knife cuts both ways, and should things in the employment market pick up, then they are going to find a large number of their employees who have had a "gun held to their head" to the point where we have the Hire and Fire mentality adopted from USA, leave them. Thos employees are likely to be the most valuable in terms of experience within the firm and experience gained elsewhere. Not allowing them flexible working hours means that they will leave for another business, in turn taking away all the experience and more to the point cost of training them to your business operational codes.
We have got to get out of this hire & fire mentality and stop treating staff as disposables, in the long run it is expensive but it seems that our short-sighted management and directorships cannot see this. If they need a flexible work force, then they have got to have a flexible approach to the times that their employees work, in partiuclar those who are looking after children and the problem will increase as our population becomes older, to the point where there will be more people over the age of 65 by 2040. The elderly will need care too, and they cannot all be put in to homes- we just have not got the space, afterall we are only an island!
In my experience allowing flexibility for my workers has allowed them to be more productive. Now, there are still limitations for client specific meetings or emergencies where you need to be available during normal business hours but as long as there is nothing pressing it doesn't matter to me or my organization when the work gets done.
Dear David, I have experience from both clients and from my own teams working with this question. I think flexibility is a requirement for current and future generations of employees. So if you want the best talent, you need to work out a model that incorporates flexibility.
I assume that your teams output is not dependent on their location/time of work, but also that if they are a team, you gain momentum within the team, with proximity to each other. However proximity today, especially with a highly IT literate generation, can be obtained even with physical distance and different working hours. But the technology available do not make this happen on it’s own, in my experience. you can even do SCRUM this way, there are several tools available.
For this to work, there still need to be ground rules and the right technology and accessibility available (to both virtual work platform and team members). I suggest you define what constitutes team work with you team, and define remote ways of working that can still fulfill this “credo” and from that write a new guide for remote working and what it means.
In addition that everyone is prepared and understand what they need to deliver and can be held accountable to. Part of this is to be made aware of the extra need for transparency with deliverables when working remotely. My thinking is that if you are not visible to your team as a team member, you are even more dependent on making your contributions visible – In order to keep the trust from your colleagues.
Essentially this discussion comes back to building and retaining trust at the workplace and I think if you frame it like that in an off site etc. you should be able to have an engaging and productive dialogue that hopefully will make your team even more productive.
I know all of the above is easyer said than done, and I have experimented and worked hard on making teams work like that, so above takes a lot more than what I just wrote (I know), but hopefully works as an encouragement to stay with this important question of yours and keep pursuing new ways of working.
Best regards from Berlin,
Largely depends on what your business is. If you're servicing clients and doing development within a team, then a common time-frame for a team is much better.
At our organisation, we've empowered the teams to decide their own routine. We've dedicated teams working for clients and we encourage these teams to find-out best time for them along with client in which they'd like to work. Client should remain happy at the end of the day.
Hmmn, from my personal perceptive, I guess if productivity is a goal, you could give it a try. I'm someone who doesn't have a particular workplace or time. I work as at when the motivation arrives and could go on hours so I often tell my clients that I'll finish the task within so and so hours. It might be at their place or at mine but I always get the job done on time. So, if they say they are more productive during certain hours, please give it a try and measure the performance also so at to be able to ascertain it it's worth it.
A little bit of both, both arguments are valid and giving people flexibility will go a long way towards a more satisfied workforce, when they need to be together, they can be together, when they need time alone they can have time alone - the nature of the task-at-hand will help determine the style of work in each scenario
This is not a yes or no question, it depends on the industry. If you work at a retail store, your hours are in accordance with the store hours. However, if you are in a more professional non customer facing position, you need to be available during some core hours but, out side of that you should be able to work the hours that fit your life style.
If your business is innovation driven , you may like your employees to create their own hours. Works well for small size projects or rapid prototyping environment. This flexibility may not work for high in tranaction environment such as financial services.
To me it would depend on where they are working. If at an assigned office, I would be okay with shifts - 8-4 and 4-Midnight.. If they are working at home, then times and shifts don't apply. Regardless of the product/service, people with like areas should be "working" at similar times to decrease down time or lapses.
Flex hours are best whenever possible since they focus people on getting thing done not just showing up. Our best developers and sales people prosper by not being ground down by unnecessary showing up requirements. Average and below performers don't usually like flex hours because the mission is clearer that stuff must get done.
Great question to consider and good points made in response. To come up with the optimal answer, ask yourself and your employees 'what can we do to maximize our value in client relations and achieve our business goals?' Do flex hours support your "WHY?" As in why you are in business and why customers should want to do business with you. It's not about the convenience of employees rather about their commitment to the business and accountability for their activities and results contributing to organizational success. That said, be diligent in how you assess, hire, develop and support your staff. Ultimately, it is alignment and balance of structure, strategy and culture which will grow your business.
Enjoy the process of successful growth!
I think this depends on the type of work, the relationship of the employee to others in the company, and the employee's character.
Type of work: Some work is conducive to isolation, such as writing and editing (that's what I do). I gain something by working on my own. Other types of work would lose something if employees work on their own. For example, tradeshow planning. If a tradeshow planner works on their own, they might be tempted not to consult with others who are critical to the process. If everyone is working at the same time, collaboration is easy and more likely.
Relationship of employee to others: If an employee's work is woven closely into the work of others, it doesn't make sense to allow them to work on their own. For example, clerical staff should always have immediate access to the staff they support. It doesn't mean some work couldn't be done during solo hours, but even spreadsheet prep, correspondence and other things should be done when access to the project owner is easy and more likely.
Employee character: You have to be careful with this one, because you must treat all employees equally. However, it is a fact that some employees are self-starters and others thrive when they are surrounded by other people working. Some employees are trustworthy and others cannot even trust themselves to make honest decisions when they are alone. How do you make this judgement? Consult HR to make sure you are following the law in your treatment of employees. Allow employees to prove themselves and work up to trusted solo work. If they break the rules or can't get enough work done, have a frank conversation with them about this and use it as proof that it is better for them and your company if they work during regular business hours. The proof will allow you to make decisions for them within the law that don't match what you decide for others.
Yes, but with some conditions. Not for all types of jobs. This can be extended to Production & Purchasing staff. These department staff will not have time to finish their jobs withing day time working hours. Even they completed they may don't have time to complete their paper work related to their duty.
Some employees doesn't have a capacity to work within noisy environment even if they continue they can not be provided very good productivity. So better to give chances to create own hours. '
I would suggest that employees want autonomy. It is autonomy that drives passion and discretionary effort. However, it also depends on the business you are in (i.e you can't do this in retail or in the medical professions) and the life style of the employees. If you have single parents or if you have someone taking classes or similar situations you might want to make them happy and show empathy with flexible hours.
I would say the measure of success would be if the work is being completed, with the quality you want, within the timeframe you expect, why would you care. You might find by having the traditional 9-5 you are not getting those things. But if you do let them set their own hours you have to be explicate about the consequences for not doing things on time and not having the quality you define. Without consequences you will not get the results you want.
You might want to have them all in the office at the same time, for a few hours, for face time and get to know you and one another. That would be helpful.
Simple treat them like adults and they might act like adults!
This is a question I have struggled with my entire career. It really depends on the maturity level of the employees as a group. Remember; What you do for one you must do for all.
Ask yourself if you are delivering the best value for the client. The best creativity seldom happens on schedule, but you can get better at "manufacturing" ideas with some training.
In our projects, we have times when each designer needs to go off on their own and create. I allow a greater amount of freedom during those times. This is where employees will get personal satisfaction from their contribution to the project.
When we move to the execution phase of a project, I prefer an "all hands on deck" approach, as I see team work, streamlined communication and mutual respect develop among employees as they strive for a common goal or deadline. Once we reach that goal, we can all celebrate as a group.
I strive to provide a level of consistency by sticking to regular work hours. As it provides people a bit of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic environment. I would not dock pay for being a half hour late now and then. But if lack of attention is habitual or disruptive, that employee really does not want to be with our group anyway, so I give them what they want.
The world of work is changing more people are working flexible hours and remote workers are on the increase, It depends on the industry. I am in the UK, here and in the EU Companies are working towards the Equality Legislation we have to comply with certain issues such as flexible working. Our new millenniums ( generation X are directing us to different working environments and attitudes towards working. Gone are the 9-5 business hours. In this global economy it has to be how we direct our businesses to support this new era, and include the diverse workforces we will have.
In my own experience it depends on the type of business it is and if it is a virtual one or an in-person job. With today's technology it is possible to set hours if you are working remotely, however, there are times when set hours are necessary.
There are some great replies to your question. Please let us know what you decide.
All the best,
That is a great question. The reason why some organizations fail is because of "standards." If the nature of your business is dependent on a 9-5 type culture, like an elementary school, of course your team would not be able to set their own hours. However, if your business does not require that kind of structure to operate effectively, then there is no reason why employees can't set their own hours -- As Long As They Do The Work. If you are the leader, then it should be your call as to whether you want to give employees the flexibility to set their own hours. I think it is a good idea to capitalize on people's peak performance times whenever possible.