The traditional 9-to-5, 40-hour work week is just that: traditional. It’s a fossil from an era when the number of hours an employee clocked on a production line was a simplified measurement of productivity. Although the nature of work has clearly changed, businesses are still automatically adopting this rigid schedule without considering its effects on both employees and happiness--two things that should fall together seamlessly.
Employers ensure an erosion of employee trust by strictly enforcing when their employees must complete their work. This puts employees on a fast-track to feeling less autonomous. And nothing kills productivity quite like an environment where employees feel forced to work. Your employees should want to complete their work--for the greater good of the company and simply for the fact that they enjoy what they do.
Learn from my experiences, giving employees the freedom to come and leave has the potential to increase their productivity and output. It’s a win-win situation.
Here are four reasons why you need to end set working hours:
1. They’re productivity killers.
Setting specific time parameters for your employees ties their success to when they come and leave the office--not what goals have been met. Productivity isn’t tied to the presence of an employee. Simply being seated at a desk or attending a meeting doesn’t truly mean work is being completed. Let's face it: filling the requirement of being in an office is far from motivating.
2. It doesn't build trust.
Employees should passionately want to meet their goals. Let them do it in the ways they see fit. That way, they’re more likely to own their work and desire to be the best they can be.
3. It's distracting.
It’s highly unlikely that your employees’ tasks fit within a 9-to-5 schedule. So why do you want them to be stuck thinking about how many hours they clock, rather than meeting their goals?
Allow your employees to determine how long they must be at the office to get something done. After all, during a big project it’s important your employees don’t feel inclined to exit as soon as the clock strikes 5 p.m. Your staff should set and meet their quotas based on work and not time.
4. It works against teamwork.
Working in a team can make a huge difference when it comes to productivity--although, having individual team members bound by set hours often produces issues regarding who's pulling their weight. Instead, let your employees focus on meeting team goals and collaborating to make it happen. This can mean a team effort in the office during the same hours or working individually in divided chunks of time.
Dropping your employees’ standard hours may require a cultural shift within your company. Not all change is bad. In fact, this one will reap benefits of increased flexibility and autonomy. Employee happiness and productivity is linked to trust--and enforcing hours shows exactly the opposite.
Ilya Pozin - April 30, 2013
About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and '30 Under 30' entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!