12th April 2016
Rigid Office Hours May Be Shutting Out a Lot of Talent
Flexible working hours make employees more productive. If the reverse is true then the organization may be shutting out a lot of qualified and competent talent. Many employees today want flexible working hours. This is a fact which has been established through many studies around the world. It is therefore surprising that a large number of employers are yet to recognize and evaluate such a powerful development in the modern work places.
A large number of employees, globally, as well as in India want more control over their working hours and personal lives. This is not only true for the young mothers but also for the males who too have to play an equally important role in managing the children and parents at home besides other day to day responsibilities at home. A lot of employees, in India, still believe that flexi workers are only second best. This not true and is reflective of just an old mind set. The fact is that while the incompetent workers can hide behind large teams, the flexi worker specially those working from home have no such option so they work harder to remain competitive. Flexi policies are known to work best with the competent employees who also have a good capacity for strong self –management.
Strict working hours are, in effect, bad for business because they are not good for the employees who may have little to no time to handle their household responsibilities and pursue their hobbies and passion. Research shows that working for very long periods, without having time for hobbies, exercises and adequate relaxation of the body and mind, has a very adverse impact on health. This impact is similar to consuming 5 or 6 alcoholic drinks per day. In such a state of fitness of the mind and body, the productivity levels are bound to go down. Not many employees in the stressed out working system look forward to coming to the office. Instead, most look forward to the weekends only. The reverse would happen once they have enough time for their families and themselves.
If this is not convincing enough then let’s look at some other benefits. Imagine the savings on costly office spaces, energy bills and the associated facilities’ usage. Employees too save a lot of money which is simply burnt on fuel while commuting on congested roads in addition to getting additional work hours. If these small savings are added, the overall impact will be significant.
One of the biggest benefits would be in terms of attracting and retaining talent. A lot of time the organization may need its employees to work on odd timings as usually happens in case of Media organizations where breaking news would get priority over everything else. Since most media organizations follow flexi policies, the media machinery is able to respond on a 24 x 7 basis. Something similar may be needed in case of an unexpected large assignment or some other challenge in the organization.
Flexi policies do not mean that the workers are not supposed to come to office. All it needs is enough flexibility so that the employees have more control over their working hours. Instead of a control orientation, a results orientation will help more.
In India, the trend is still small but it is predicted to grow. MyKindOfJob.com, a job portal launched by Ankit Bansal who also runs a renowned head hunting company has over 20000 registered candidates who would prefer to work on flexi timing basis. Interestingly the list of companies which have praised this portal’s initiative consists of India’s who is who in the corporate world. Companies like the Hindustan Unilever Ltd, the Tata Group, Deloitte, IBM, Reliance Industries and Dr Reddy’s have begun to adapt to this new trend. And these are just a few names. Companies have begun to realize that to plug the talent gaps flexi policies can help in quickly inducting talent from outside which may not be willing to work on a full time basis due to several personal and professional reasons.
Flexi policies are also needed for yet another reason. There was a time when the employees gave a higher weightage to the academic qualifications and past experience of the candidate. In the dynamic work places of modern times the capability to innovate or perform may not be simply related to qualifications and past experience. In several cases, by the time the mismatch is discovered, the organization loses a lot of money and time. A flexible job by design is usually based on output related projects and assignments so the non- performers can be detected quickly.
The modern work place is set to change like never before. The old order of the industrial era is finally getting challenged. It is already making a lot of business sense to the organizations around the globe. FlexJobs, a US based job listing site specializing in flexi jobs has published a list of 125 top virtual employers in USA which is up from 76 last year and just 26 the year before. It’s clearly a global trend and India too would not remain far behind in the near future.
Founder of Fortune Architect
Managing Director- Asia Pacific & EMEA Markets with Saviour US INC
Respected HR Leader
CHRO, LANCO INFRATECH LIMITED
Executive Director-HR & Admin, Experion Developers
Managing Director, UK Fostering, Founder, UKINDO International & CharityWorld.com
Promoter & Director, Rockland Hospitals Network, Delhi
Vice President & HR Head- India/SA at IBM HR Consultant
Founder and a principal consultant with People Talent International
Mr Chauhan has held leadership roles in HR at leading multinational companies
COO & Co-founder of Round Ark Limited, Gurgaon
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