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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are beginning to realise that some of the old work rituals might not be as relevant as we had once thought. It is well recognised that a large portion of not only the Australian workforce, but the international workforce as a whole, are no longer wanting to do a full 5-day week in the office. Many workplaces are now adopting a flexible working model as workers have voted for the work-life balance that working from home provides them with. Now that we are taking into consideration work-life balance and flexibility with work, should we consider whether the 9-5 is still relevant? With the workforce screaming for flexibility and more work-life balance, the logical next steps are to eliminate the 9-5. Read on to find out why the 9-5 no longer makes sense and how we realistically can achieve flexibility in the workplace.
Things are changing much faster than we thought they would. Last year, at the drop of a hat, we all had to pack up our workplace and do everything from home. For most of us, that was a great challenge and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought they would be less productive at home. In actual fact, workers are often more productive at home than they are in the physical office environment. So taking into consideration that fact, maybe we should be speaking to workers about their preferred working hours. We already know that workers want more flexibility and the opportunity to balance work with their personal lives, so we wouldn't be wrong in assuming that most workers will want to at least have a chance to consider altering their working hours and there sure is enough evidence to back the assumption. One study tells us that 80% of workers are more likely to choose a job that offers flexible working arrangements. By giving employees this flexibility in working hours, they are more likely to feel empowered and have those added benefits such as being able to pick the kids up from school. So why not give it a go?
It seems like employees are the only ones that benefit from this flexwork model. Well, that's not necessarily true. In fact, employers reap the benefits of flexibility as workers are more loyal to their companies and employee turnover is reduced. While we know that employers are worried about employee productivity as well as being taken advantage of for their welcoming attitude to employee flexibility, if you’re really worried about this, it might mean you don’t have the right people or the right measures of success. Traditionally, success was measured as “bums on seats”, but now we’re seeing the need to measure success in a different manner. It is not enough to just note down who’s attending meetings or who’s responding to emails (and who isn’t), proper measures should be put in place. You need to know what your employees are working on and what success looks like. Are they meeting deadlines? Are they producing high quality work? These are just some questions you need to be asking when measuring productivity.
With the amount of meetings and all the time you need people to be available for contact, how can companies make it work? First thing you will want to do is set compulsory hours. Perhaps that’s from 10am-2pm, whatever works for you! Make sure these compulsory hours are being effectively communicated to your staff too. This is probably a good time for you to develop company policies on flexwork. All your employees need to know about what is required when they are a part of a flexwork arrangement. You can’t be leaving anything up to chance or common sense, everything needs to be clear and consistent (lucky you have Work Central to help you with that!) Now that you have this awesome initiative in place, make sure you’re monitoring the success of your flexwork plan. For some workplaces, maybe flexible schedules aren’t as realistic and that’s okay, but maybe sometimes they just need a rework and a bit more dedicated thought to ensure you’re still getting the best from your employees!
The 9-5 may not be altogether dead yet, but it’s definitely being called into question now. Most workers want flexibility within the workplace. Whether that be in regards to scheduling or where they work, flexibility is important to your employees and allowing them that flexibility will truly benefit everyone. It’s time to put the traditional workday under the microscope and see if it still makes sense for your business.