This one is really close to my heart. Several discussions , debates in forums, organizational groups spend hours on this topic , but there are very few organizations where the Leadership actually follows it in its spirit. The paradox of Flexi-timing.
Most of the organizations have a set number of hours which the employees have to clock. For example, 45 hours in a week or 170 hours in a month and so on. To explain it further, suppose I come to office at 9 am in the morning and leave at 5 pm from Monday to Thursday, I will have to stay for 12 hours on Friday, even if I do not have any work ! According to me it is most counterproductive. Why should we tie the goals of an employee within a set time ? If we think deeply, organizations lose out with this. But the argument is that, your employees might cheat you and take advantage .These are my rebuttal points :
- Set Goals : The employees should be given goals which are achievable but stretches them. Leave it to them whether they finish it in 40 hours or 50 hours or 60 hours. Give them the end date when they should deliver. In my experience, I have seen them work harder and longer that the regular hours which they have to clock .
- Ownership, ownership, ownership : Once you give a task to your team member, give him complete ownership. Do not try to micro-manage. Make it seem that the project depends upon the work she is doing. You will be surprised how she works to make the project successful.
- Motivation works : Sometimes when I see a team member slogging away till wee hours for several days, I usually sit with him to understand his problem. It might happen that he is stuck and needs help. Sometimes, the deadline might be killing. In these circumstances, a pat on the back or a kind word of appreciation during team meetings boosts his morale. There have been lots of instances when I have asked the person to take a day off to relax, but s/he will give me numerous reasons to continue working ... !
- Kick the Clock : Once the organization shows flexibility , the culture of the organization becomes open and trustworthy. Counting hours make people waste time more and productivity decreases. To have proper checks and balances, the middle tier - the project managers and leads should be empowered to take informed decision and they should be trained in empathy and goal setting to see that the teams are working cohesively. Kick the clock and reap the benefits .
Are you flexible and brave enough to implement flexi-timing in your organization ?
Believe me , it works !