‘Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin,” at least so says Dolly Parton. Born of the industrial era, the 40 hour work week is now a standard the world over, but using time as a measurement of accomplishments is a relic, says Ilya Pozin. In an article for LinkedIn, the founder of web design company Ciplex argues that companies should do away with strict working hours and allow for flexibility to promote creative and productive thinking.
The key to Pozin’s argument is the connection between an employee’s happiness, productivity and autonomy.
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.
The traditional work schedule measures productivity not in the goals accomplished, but in the amount of hours spent in the office – and being present at the office does not necessarily ensure work is being done. Think of the amount of time workers reportedly spend of Facebook and perusing the web. Having to stare at a clock perpetually throughout the day kills productivity, works against teamwork, doesn’t build trust and is distracting – at least that’s how Pozin sees it. Letting workers determine their own hours, and set their own quotas, ensures a sense of responsibility, autonomy and trust. They will do the work they need to do, in the work schedule that is suitable to them.
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.