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?
That depends greatly on the industry and business. I know a lot of programmers who work only nights for example. I am personally of opinion that if it does not pose any hinder the company, employees should get freedom to make choices regarding the way they approach their tasks.
As you might imagine, David, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In most cases, it depends on business needs. If your business is programming, then more flexible schedules can apply because it is more of a project-based environment. If you are in banking, though, "normal business hours" need apply for all employees.
I got interested in your question because you are in the real estate business. At first, I thought normal business hours would apply, but then I thought again. If your agents are responsible for setting up their own meetings with clients, attending networking events, and so forth, perhaps more flexible scheduling could apply. Why have someone show up at the office to clock in at 8:30 if they have 2 appointments scheduled for the afternoon and a networking event scheduled for 7:00 pm?
Here's another way to look at it. Agents are accountable for monthly goals. If they make those goals or exceed them, who cares how much time they spend at the office? They're delivering, they're probably happier not adhering to strict hours, and they feel more empowered with their time. On the other hand, if someone is underperforming, is it because it's related to the time they clocked in or out? Or is it related to how they are spending their time, overall?
We are living in a highly connected world. E-mails, text messages, Skype, Facetime . . .all are ways for a sales manager/executive to stay in touch with his/her team. Perhaps what you could do is run a trial period. For 1-2 months, let people create their own schedules. It can be formal or informal. Formal meaning they actually set their schedules and file those with you. Informal meaning they simply work when it suits them and you monitor their deliverables and goals.
Expect bumps and some confusion. At the end of the day, though, make sure you meet regularly with each person face-to-face. That face-time is the ultimate in accountability. Skype or e-mail doesn't have the same effect.
If you need help or want to talk more through the ideas, please feel free to contact me directly.
As several others have already said, "It Depends"..
a) Do your customers have a need for services at some specific time? If so, then that's the easiest answer since the whole objective of the business is to meet your customers needs..
b) Does the team needs to exchange anything (information, resources, materials, work in progress, documents, etc) in order to meet their goals? If so, then there should be a mutually agreed time when everybody is on at the same time so the business can actually function.
c) What's your (and if you're the business owner it's only "your") way to measure success process or results? If it is process, then put a clock, make everyone clock in, and you'll be a happy camper (even on the route to financial bankruptcy), if it is results (and there is no conflicts with "A" or "B", then does it really matters if your start programmer is typing away at 2am from an apartment in the beaches of Costa Rica, while your start sales person is closing deals at 7pm during happy hour in New York?
IMHO, as long as the business objectives are met ethically, I really don't ask my team when they clock in or out..
I agree with Daniel: it definitely depends on the type of business. If you were running a business where employees had to interact with one another in real time — such as a storefront — obviously allowing them to create their own schedule could be chaotic. But real estate development? If you hire people who are responsible and internally motivated, it shouldn't matter when they work, provided you're able to meet your goals with people working non-standard hours. I know when I was in the corporate world I chafed at the hours rule (which was 7:30-5, plus an hour commute each way). Working virtually was one of the great bonuses of being self employed.
Be sure to instill some way to monitor performance, and perhaps convene the whole team at regular intervals for updates.
I agree with the above answers. It depends on the type of business and the type of responsibilites of your employees. Some work independently even if they are there during "normal" working hours and seldom have contact with others.
Some have positions which require a great deal of individual communication with others in the work group as well as those who are constantly talking to/meeting with others.
It could work out if you had at least several hours over lap during the day.
Also, be mindful of time zones for telephone calls. Have to be available for your customer and clients from EST to PST.
David there is a movement in this country called Results only work environment on which this concept is based. You can read more about it by reading the works of Cali Ressler. The basis of the concept is that as long as you get your work done you can set your own hours. Netflix has taken it a step further with an open vacation policy.
The most successful organizations consider the productivity of their employees as vital to the success of the company. These days going to an office and having the typical 9 to 5 experience is becoming less and less the norm. With all the electronic tools that are available today work can get done more effectively and efficiently without having everybody in the same place at the same time any more.
Yes, employees should be allowed to create their own hours, especially now, in these days, when they could easily start their own businesses if the company for which they work on is not flexible enough for them. Why would a valuable employee continue to work for a company that is not understanding him/her and that is rigid in its behavior towards him/her ? Would you work for a company that is acting as if you should be happy to work for them ? In my opinion, people should start treating other people as PEOPLE, not as Human Resources, that are easily replaceable with other Human Resources. If you want happy employees (hence you know they perform better) offer them this opportunity - what makes you think you are more successful as a business if you force your employees to work on specific times, especially when it is not necessary to do that?
If your employees are working from home I see no problem with them setting their own hours. Just as long as they can complete their goals by your set deadlines.
Now if you have employees coming to an office setting that depends on the amount of resources you have to keep the place running. Having the lights on for the two folks who just have to work late night does not seem practical.
I love the results only work environment idea.
They have seen it work in all types of workplaces now.
I'd recommend buying the book "why work sucks and what to do about it"
They also have a certification program and updated whitepapers for free download.
The general idea is that workers can plan and execute the work they agree to do when and how and with whom they deem to work best, as long as you the boss agree it is effective. So your people decide how when and where to work, making agreements to meet when needed or most effective. This raises the quality of work because it prerequisites engagement. You pay only for the finished product a predetermined price that is agrreed to be sufficient.
There is also telecommuniting - so people won't have to leave home while they do their work.
The question you should be asking is "Why am I setting the employees schedule?"
Do they need to be available to customers during normal business hours? That's reasonable.
Are you doing it because "that's the way we've always done it"? That, frankly, is a reason that should have you questioning ANY policy.
Are you setting their schedule because it makes you feel more like a boss, more in control? Sometimes as a boss you have to take control, but if you're doing it just to "show them who's boss" you might want to reconsider.
Does the team collaborate a lot or do they mostly work independently? If they do collaborate, is it the whole team or little teams?
A final thought, would you be asking this question if the only people who wanted to adjust the schedule wanted to come in at 7 AM and leave at 4 PM?
I found that letting them make their own schedule they don't miss work because they made their own schedule and if they go to call off I use that a reason they can't call off.
I can understand flexi time in organizations but it is not a great idea to have employee create theirmown hours.A shift system can be instituted. Employees can volunteer to work in day or night shifts depending on their most productive time. Once the shift has been decided no laxity should be given.There has to be a semblence of discipline in the organization
Definitely depends on the kind of work you're doing and the amount of collaboration you would need to do within a team. Team members should have some flexibility if it doesn't affect the rest of the workers or hinder work being done by others. And if they don't have to work with clients or customers. While it would be great to only work at places where you can be the most productive in terms of your wishes, unfortunately when you work for someone else, you have to follow the schedule they deem best for their business. If you prefer an alternate schedule, that should be discussed upfront at a job interview to see if it can be accommodated and if you would be a good fit with the organization. At the end of the day, the employer wants the work to be completed to the best of your ability to ensure they're getting the biggest bang for their buck, but it has to work for everyone or it can't work at all. One other point is that allowing you flexibility, while other employees have to stick to a stricter schedule could look like you are getting favorable treatment and employers have to take that into account as well. Face time and working virtually are also options for many.
The answer may be in your employees' energy cycles. Ask any ten people if they are morning or evening people and you'll probably get ten different answers. We all have different times in the day when we are at our best for interacting with others, working alone, and completing mild cognitive tasks. If you can demonstrate that you trust your people, help them set up an office environment that will cultivate success and let them schedule work flow around how their brains and bodies work, you'll be amazed at what they will produce.
Are the members of your team also realtors or a team designed to support your real estate business? I know realtors do not work an 8-5 or 9-5 schedule since they work on their customers' schedules (most work day and night). But if your team is there to support your business and not actively doing real estate, they should be there during normal working hours so they can take care of the administrative tasks that support your business and be your right arm when you are not available (since you are selling real estate) . If they are writing contracts for you, doing documentation, or maybe files, then maybe evenings is not a problem. But if they need to coordinate with title companies or mortgage companies or host an open house or run checks, they need to work normal business hours as that is the only hours these other companies do business.
Perhaps this is one of the fundamental questions when we want to introduce the "mobile office". Especially in smaller, flatter and agile organizations I find it that the work really is not dependent on when or where you do the work. The only thing that matters is that the work gets done as agreed.
So far so good, sounds nice :-) However this approach requires some serious discussion around culture, values, trust, responsible vs. responsibility, accountability and all those soft skills needed for reliability. If you overlook these you will surely find yourself and your business in trouble over time. The upside then again is that with that trust and freedom you sprinkle over your organization you can also expect better performance, quality improvement, greater employee satisfaction and ultimately an improved employer brand.
Both morning and night people are not good team players. Not that they're deficient but they may have [personal] problems you might want to help them with. They try to avoid the afternoon but it's not because of siesta!
There is a strong argument that says that the whole of a team is greater than the sum of its parts.However, this is not an either/or issue. I suggest you rather ask questions such as: How much does the work suit flexible working?, How do I balance employee desires to work requirements?, what aspects of work have a team compenent and what doesnt? etc