Friday, 28 June 2013

Workplace Culture Re-Defined: Flexible Working Hours

time clock flexible working hours coffee mug office
Flexible working hours are the demand of the day. Graduates right out from university venture to find a workplace that operates by rules that match their requirements. They have heard long crucifying tales about companies having stern policies that haunt employees by taking a toll on performance evaluation bonuses, avenues for promotion, and job security.

In the university days, these students chose class sessions that suited their late night routines and slumber patterns. As their carefree-mode sweeps into the professional arena, to mitigate potential grievances threatened by mounting punctuality concerns, the foremost little no-rule they prefer is to have flexible working hours.

Following the traditional 9-to-5 work routine, most offices commence at 9 am. Some of them have a time relaxation varying from fifteen minutes to half an hour after which an employee is marked as being 'late'. This punctuality dimension is usually reflected in the employee's performance appraisal. Consequently, people rush to make it through nasty traffic jams, and desperately wait for the elevator to take them to the desired floor so they can hit the thumb impression machine to announce their time-conscious attendance.

Observing strict punctuality makes good, logical sense in a customer-dealing office space - such as a bank or mobile phone shop or a hospital - where work activities involve direct one-to-one dealing with customers. Here, the declared work timings are directly related to the work output henceforth generated. However, if the workplace does not involve directly dealing with customers, the organisation might have room to adjust rules in such a way that preserve discipline and enhance employee work efficiency without enacting the compulsory 9 am-reporting schedule.

Here flexibility in work timings can come into play. Flexible working hours re-define the workplace culture by making workplaces output-oriented and not akin to employment styles that place the highest value on the employee's punctual arrivals instead of work efficiency and quality outputs. Surely every workplace calls for discipline, and should in one way or another indicate that it values punctuality and regular attendance. Otherwise, without having the desired personnel there, communication between employees would be haphazardly possible.

To check for this, I admire the flexible approach in work timings adopted by a friend's organisation. Every day at 11 am, the company under discussion holds a scrum meeting which is mandatory for all employees to attend. It does not matter if an employee comes to office at 8:10 am or 10:55 am if he is rest assured present for the scrum meeting and spends a minimum of 8 useful man-hours at work every day. Besides ensuring attendance and discipline, this provides a platform to assemble all and concisely share their daily work progress. The forum also allows the team to brainstorm ideas and discuss any issues faced.

Re-defining workplace culture through intelligently incorporating flexible working hours is a model that should be carefully promoted to target efficiency, well-being and success.

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