Rethink your work week to maximize productivity and get more done.
By Phil Domenico (Co-founder, Assemble)
Times have changed since Dolly Parton sang about working 9-to-5 each day. Virtual collaboration, an international workforce, and the rise of mobile devices have turned the workday into a 24/7 possibility – and the workplace can be anywhere.
That doesn’t mean that people should work 24/7 – work/life balance is extremely important to long-term employee and company success – but what it does is open up the door for a non-traditional work schedule.
By providing the option to work non-traditional hours and days, employees may actually see their productivity increase. In fact, they’ll probably be just plain happier. The benefits are numerous, and here are some of the biggest highlights of a non-traditional work schedule:
1. Fewer Distractions
Have you ever had those days when the phone just wouldn’t stop ringing? Have you ever daydreamed about all you could accomplish if people stopped distracting you and you focused on your work?
With a non-traditional work schedule, this is completely possible. If your work week is, say, Tuesday through Saturday, then you could plan for Saturdays to be your “get stuff done” day. As most people don’t work on Saturdays, the volume of calls, emails, and interruptions should go significantly down, allowing you to focus on that all-important to-do list.
Another alternative is to plan regular long breaks during conventional work days to handle errands or simply relax, then pick up when the rest of the world has settled down.
The bottom line is that it’s easier to be productive when you can focus on the task at hand. Using a non-traditional work schedule is one of the easiest ways to give yourself this luxury.
2. Flexible Schedules
Sometimes it just takes longer to get your day going. And sometimes you just need a longer lunch break. Other times, you need to sync up your workday with other 9-to-5ers.
Welcome to the world of a flexible schedule, where your to-do list dictates your day rather than corporate parameters. This flexibility delivers the means to adapt and scale as needed, so your work day is focused on getting stuff done in the most efficient manner possible rather than filling standard workday hours.
By implementing schedule flexibility, employees are given the power to choose, leading to greater worker happiness which ultimately turns into a better bottom line.
3. Avoid Traffic
If you live in a city, then you know the worst part of the day is waiting in endless commute traffic. It doesn’t matter if you have comfortable seats or great music, traffic is awful in any situation.
But what if you could wave a wand to make it all disappear?
There’s no magic trick to get rid of commute traffic for everyone, but a non-traditional work schedule means that you can base your day avoiding long waits in the car. Instead of an hour or more of boredom and frustration each day, you can start and end your day with stress-free travel.
Imagine, an extra 30-60 minutes each day; what will you do with that time?
4. True Weekends
Ask anyone who works a non-traditional schedule and they’ll often say when their weekend actually begins. What they won’t tell you, though, is that a non-traditional weekend comes with many benefits to actually enjoying the weekend. Since the public tends to descend on hot spots like the beach or downtown on weekends, planning a visit can be a nightmare.
But if your weekend was, say, Sunday-Monday rather than the standard Saturday-Sunday, schedule possibilities open up. Traffic is less of a fight, parking is abundant, and there’s never a problem getting restaurant reservations. And if you’re planning a trip, start researching things to do because flights are cheaper too.
In short, a non-traditional weekend is exactly what a weekend is supposed to be.
5. Work/Life Balance
We’ve all said it before: “I’d go to the gym if I had time,” “I’d take that class if I didn’t have to be at work,” “I’d make it to my child’s soccer game if I wasn’t stuck in commute traffic.”
If it’s not one of those specific things, there’s almost certainly something else in your life that a normal work schedule has prevented you from doing.
With a non-traditional work schedule, this all changes. Want to go to the gym on Friday mornings? It’s up to you. Need to pick up your child from school at 3 p.m.? Now you can.
Non-traditional work schedules focus on a proper work/life balance. When employees have that equation in check, then they’re happier at home and at the office – and that all leads to a more productive worker.
6. Accommodate Time Zones
Remote working is becoming a regular part of any business, whether it’s through corporate satellite offices or startups recruiting talent across the country – or globe. In many cases, virtual collaboration is made easy through video chats, screen sharing and cloud storage. However, there’s one thing that online technology can’t make easier: time zones.
Nonetheless, changing to a non-traditional work schedule can make time zone conflicts a thing of the past. One person’s earlier is another person’s later, but with flexible schedules, video conferences and collaborative reviews can take place during happy mediums in the calendar.
Non-Traditional Work Schedule: The Ultimate Recruitment Tool
All of the benefits listed above are carrots dangled in front of employees. Of course, a happy employee makes for a productive and committed worker, so everyone benefits from a non-traditional work schedule.
In fact, the biggest benefit may come even before you hire anyone. By making a non-traditional work schedule a standard option for employees, it can be the biggest draw for talent over your competitors.
When you line it all up – happier employees, stronger recruitment, higher productivity – the question isn’t whether or not to implement a non-traditional work schedule. The question is simply “Why haven’t you done it already?”
Do you work flexible hours?
Photo credit: Vitaliy Mateha via Shutterstock.