One of the biggest challenges encountered by most workers in the modern world is achieving sufficient work-life balance. While you may know someone who enjoys shorter working hours or has the option to telecommute and get some work done at home, most employees continue to operate within the constraints of the daily 9-to-5. The 40-hour workweek is increasingly being perceived as an outdated framework for ensuring worker productivity; it originated in the manufacturing industry, but more employees today provide knowledge-based services to their employers. If you can get your work done in a shorter amount of time each day, why not make the case for a more flexible schedule?
Flesh out the details
The employee benefits of a flexible working schedule may be obvious, but making such an arrangement happen in reality is going to take more planning and effort. Businesses and other large-scale organizations which don’t already have an established policy in this regard will be especially resistant to change; after all, it’s unlikely that an informal arrangement would suit either party. There will be paperwork involved, and probably multiple colleagues would need to make some sort of adjustment. You can make things happen by mapping out many of the details, including arguments in favor and against the proposal. Why is your particular position a good candidate for telecommuting? It could be that your tasks are mostly back-end services that could be easily accomplished with call center VoIP phone systems installed in your home, reducing the office overhead without compromising productivity.
Work with your employer
Arguing that you’re being required to log more hours at the office than is necessary to complete your tasks is merely a complaint; employers are interested in solutions. In order to make a successful proposal for change, think like your employer. Put yourself in their shoes; is there some added value to having employees report for 8-hour shifts every day? Or is this just a matter of habit? Remember that even if a flexible schedule for employees makes sense, your idea needs to be well-received by the manager. Build a good relationship with the boss, and establish an open line of communication to discuss your proposal. Make sure you’re already performing well in your current tasks; management is more likely to listen to model employees. Above all, demonstrate that adopting such measures will benefit the business moving forward.
Earn the rewards
In theory, increased worker flexibility can greatly benefit both businesses and employees. Workers save time and energy by reducing exposure to stress and factors such as the daily commute. Businesses benefit from more productive, healthy, and happy employees. If you’re driving this change, you’ll have to prove it and earn the rewards of a flexible schedule. Agreeing to a new arrangement on a trial basis – whether it’s working from home or coming to work on adjusted hours – will be more attractive to employers as they can gauge performance. Towards this end, set a reasonable timeframe and measurable goals. If average absenteeism due to health issues is three sick days per quarter, demonstrate that a new arrangement is better by avoiding any sick days during this period. Keep your employer updated on the status of deliverables each day to build trust and help measure productivity.
Workers in many offices may feel that it’s time to change out of the 40-hour workweek model and have better work-life balance. By taking these steps to lead the way, you can help shift policies within your organization and reap the benefits.