Addressing the Myths of Scheduling
In a fast-moving world, the traditional “9 to 5” employee schedule may be a handicap for some organizations. Being able to offer greater flexibility can provide savvy organizations with a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talented employees, and actually increase the level of productivity.
It’s important for the senior leadership team (SLT) to periodically review its workplace policies to see if a strict work schedule is still necessary for the business. In some industries, such as banking, retail, manufacturing and distribution, it’s essential to have a group of employees in the workplace at the same time each day to serve customers, make products or transport goods.
But in fields like sales or creative services, it’s the quality of the work—not when it was done—that is most important to the organization’s success. For some individuals, their most productive time is early in the morning before the phone starts ringing. For others, it’s late in the day or during the evening. Employees may also be need to work non-traditional hours when talking with customers, recruiting job candidates or collaborating with partners in different time zones.
With the steady flow of articles about the benefits of home offices, telecommuting and “road warriors,” one would think that most organizations have embraced the concept of flexible scheduling. However, there are still some long-held myths that need to be addressed, such as:
- “My employees will too much time on personal matters if they’re not in the office.” Working from home does give employees more freedom to handle personal and family responsibilities. However, most employees appreciate a company that allows them some flexibility in scheduling and spend as much time or more “on the job” as a co-worker in the office.
- “How can I measure a work-at-home employee’s contribution to the business?” In many fields like finance, sales, customer service, etc., there are solid methodologies in place to track employee productivity, regardless of where an employee is working. When quantitative measurements aren’t enough, employees can easily provide daily, weekly or monthly reports of their activities—including time-sheets if necessary for billing purposes.
- “What if I need to contact my employees right away?” With the immediate availability of phone, text, email and voicemail, today’s employees are just a few clicks away, regardless of physical location. Even when everyone works in the same facility, it’s often easier to call, email or text an employee than to get up and walk over to that person’s desk.
In today’s job market, giving employees more control over their daily schedules is a win-win situation that can result in a higher level of engagement and loyalty along with better performance for the entire organization.