According to Slack Technologies’s Future Forum poll, full schedule flexibility — one where employees can pick what time they will clock in for work — raises productivity by up to 30%. This also improves everyone’s work-life balance,
So, in a world of flexible work, why are most of us still stuck in the 9 to 5 cycle?
Alexia Cambon, HR Research Director at consulting firm Gartner Inc, said that the schedule is “so culturally ingrained in our economy and social lives” that people are struggling to abandon it.
Despite working at home, many still feel pressured to show that they are online at the same hours as their colleagues. That is why asynchronous arrangements remain rare outside some startups and tech companies.
Meanwhile, Future Forum’s Co-founder Sheela Subramanian added that most leaders and managers are still holding on to “outdated norms of professionalism” despite modern times.
While interviewing executives for the poll, Subramanian noted that most of them often get alarmed by schedule flexibility because of — unsurprisingly — meetings!
How to move past this ancient system?
Flexibility is the most crucial thing in today’s workforce. It is so vital that Future Forum noted that workers with no schedule flexibility are “twice as likely to look for a new job in the coming year.”
To move past this outdated working system, the paper suggests adopting “core working hours” where everyone could be online for video calls and meetings.
Software firm Crunchbase Inc. did this when it went remote last year. Since they have employees across different time zones, the company set aside 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (New York time) for meetings and synchronous work. The rest of the remaining hours are up for the employee to plan.
Crunchbase’s Chief People Officer Kelly Scheib said people used to traditional schedules might take time to adjust to the fact that they may not get immediate responses outside of core working hours.
Still, Subramanian emphasized that there needs to be a re-evaluation of “the role of work in our lives.”
She added that the working world needs a “broader conversation about professional norms and what it means to be a good employee.” One which does not take into account what time you are clocking in at your workplace.