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Most people are familiar with the typical work day stereotype which consists of trudging to the office, sitting at a desk for eight hours and then heading home. Working from nine in the morning to five in the evening from Monday to Friday doesn’t seem that appealing. This boring routine can easily lead to employees dreading their jobs.

Although that might be the most common format for the week, it’s not the only schedule in the world. Innovative companies are experimenting with different ways of working to improve efficiency. One of these ways includes altering the eight hour work day in order to make it less rigid.

Your Work Needs Flexibility

Instead of having a strict schedule, be a little lenient with work times. This can be done by allowing employees to either come in early and then leave early, or come in later and then leave later. They would work the same amount of time, but it wouldn’t be nine to five each day. Another option would be to let employees work a different amount of hours each day. However, the total amount of hours should still add up to forty. Working the same hours each day can be limiting for people, but this new way of working would allow greater flexibility while still maintaining the same overall time spent at the office.

How It Helps

A little flexibility can go a long way. Employees have personal lives. That’s a fact. And sometimes those personal lives intrude on their work lives. It’s unintentional, but unavoidable. Having a work schedule that isn’t strict can allow them to work around their personal lives. This means less interference and less time off while still accomplishing whatever needs to be done.

Practical Application

Some people have children and some people have appointments. Some people get stuck in traffic or oversleep causing them to be late to work. On the other end of the spectrum, some people stay late to finish a project. Humans are unpredictable; it’s a hazard of life. With an adjustable shift at the office, an employee is able to make up time instead of losing it completely. 

They can also budget their work days more effectively. If they stay late one day working on a complex project, then another day, they can leave a little earlier after finishing their tasks. This can make it easier to plan assignments. Everything can even out with a little bit of effort.

The Results

People love having control of their lives. It only makes sense that they would crave some autonomy at their job. In the office, being able to choose when they work can cause less stress. It might allow them to avoid undesirable situations such as missing an event in their personal life or getting in trouble because they were late to work. You don’t need to give up all your control for your employees to be happy.

Dump the nine to five schedule into the trash can and give the workers some freedom. Everyone could use a little wiggle room and understanding regarding scheduling. Obviously, hours should be accounted for so that no one abuses the system. Giving some control to your employees will show that you trust them and you can depend on them to get their jobs done. Take a chance and implement a flexible system in the office. Good luck!

Originally published July 27, 2017