There is little success where there is little laughter.
– Andrew Carnegie
Today’s working world is all about work-life integration; I want the flexibility to do what I want when I want. There is no sense in our minds about why we should have to stick to that structured 8-5 job; it really doesn’t make sense and we are not okay with doing something just because it has always been done that way. This is the age of why where I want to have a Google-quick logic-based answer seconds from when the question pops into my head. The fact is most of us live on an iPhone anyway (and feel secretly like we could rule the world with it! – P.S. I don’t actually own one, I still have a dumb phone). But the truth is we want flexibility and the trust that we will work at home and away from the office as much as is needed to get the job done.
Non-typical work hours and flexibility are better for people, people can handle it, and in fact they will perform better. The concept of a compressed work week works, you just have to get your head around the idea. Figures show that people get more done, are willing to work longer hours, and are more productive when they are given flexibility in hours to work and ability to work from home. I sure as heck know that the office is not the only place where a salaried employee gets work done.
Not too long ago NPR had a story on about work hours saying:
“There’s this belief that if you’re at work, you’re doing work — and people are not,” says co-creator Jody Thompson. She says 80 percent of companies’ lost productivity is from “presenteeism” — when someone is physically in the office but mentally somewhere else.
The promotion of non-traditional working hours is becoming so common place that the U.S. Green Building Council supports it as part of its LEED rating system. Today building / business owners can get LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points simply for allowing some flexibility to their workers and not requiring a traditional work-week.
USGBC LEED 3.0 Public Draft: Location & Transportation: Neighborhood Development Plan: Transportation Demand Management: OPTION 6: Flexible Work Arrangements (2 points):
Employers must develop internal policies that outline the terms under which an employee can engage in telework, flextime, compressed work weeks, staggered shifts, etc. These policies must also outline how the program will be promoted to employees.
Not only are employees happier, but you also:
- Reduce utility bills by having to heat / cool the building less days
- Reduce the number of commuting trips
- Save on day-care costs for employees
- Increase employee productivity
The same system won’t work for every company, every small business, or even state institution; but if you’re looking to cut some costs and improve inefficiencies this may be a great start for all involved. Typical compressed work weeks adopted today include 4/10 and 9/80; but do your homework and think for yourself. Come up with what makes the most sense for you, your employees, your business and your customers. The possibilities are endless when you allow yourself to think outside the pre-programmed 8-5 and your employees might just love you for it too.