The Power of Flexible Work Schedules
At the Red Barn, we have a standard 8-4 schedule, but we still consider it a flexible work schedule – meaning Jenn and I will typically log in to Skype around 8 am EST to connect and Jenn usually checks out around 4 pm to head to the gym but that’s about as structured as we get.
I learned early on in my career that my most productive and creative time is before the sun comes up. (I’m writing this before 5 am) I also know that by 2 pm on most days my brain is done for the day – mainly because I’m up at 4 and I’ve put in a good 8 hour day. I try my best not to schedule meetings in the afternoon – but that doesn’t always happen because like any business I have customers and it’s important that I meet them where they need to be!
I know the productive times of my team and I let them work when they are in the zone and I surely don’t push them to do work when I know it will be a struggle – unless we are in an all hands on deck situation for a client. PS – we try to avoid those moments but it happens!
Knowing your team is critical. Knowing when they are productive is key if you want to run an efficient and effective ship. This also includes watching for the “I need a mental health day” cues. Everyone has a bad day or even a day when you just “can’t” for whatever reason – I just hone in on those cues and give my team the option to go home, quit early or run away from life for a few hours if that’s what they need to do.
In the end, I focus on getting GOOD work out the door – I really don’t care when that work gets done. I do care HOW it turns out. I don’t care if someone wants to not work on Monday and would prefer to work on Sunday – I just need to know ahead of time. I also don’t really care about the number of PTO days taken – in fact, I usually have to remind team members to take their vacation time. Because I don’t hang PTO over their head and I only track it because I have to for HR reasons – the PTO time never gets abused. Well, at least it hasn’t up to this point.
The flexible work schedule doesn’t work for every employee or for every business – but if you are open to trying it and seriously letting go of the corporate structure mindset – you just might be amazed at the results. Need an example – look at Microsoft – they had a 40% productivity boost when they switched to a 4 day work week.
Happy Employees = Happy Clients = Increased Revenues