Follow by Email

Monday, August 6, 2012

Punching the Time Clock May Not Be All It's Cracked up to Be

An article in HR Magazine this Month profiled a book titled Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work  by interviewing one of the authors about the concept of future work.  Defined as " that is driven by business goals and led from the top. It gives people autonomy over where, when and how they work. It's about treating people as adults and trusting them."  

This concept is driven from current leadership thinking (the theorist call it Theory Y Leadership) that people can and should be trusted, contrasted with the old style of leadership (Theory X) that focuses on command and control.  The author argues that command and control is no longer the "currency in the workforce of the future".  

Many of us still struggle with concept of flexible work, allowing people the autonomy to work when, where and how that they want to.  We are geared towards thinking that we pay people for time in a seat at an office instead of for the work and results the achieve.  However, many people are making a business case for flexible work arrangements.

Why do it?

If implemented properly flexible work can lead to:

  • Increased productivity 
  • Increased loyalty which leads to lower turnover
  • Lower costs (in office space, equipment, hiring and recruiting costs due to reduced turnover)
  • Lowered risk of business disruption 

How to do it

Here are some options for flexible work taken from "The Business Case for Flex"  HR Magazine (April 2012)

Flex time. Altering start or finish times while maintaining the same number of regularly scheduled hours.
Compressed schedule. Extending the start and finish times to compress scheduled hours into fewer days.
Reduced hours. Working fewer than the standard work hours.
Flex place. Routinely working away from the assigned office, including working from home, a remote office or a satellite location.
Job share. Sharing a position with another employee on an ongoing basis.

Interested in experimenting with flexible or future work?  What would be your first step to implement?  Already gone down the flex route?  What benefits have you seen?


  1. Interested in a good read related to this topic, Check out The Elephant and the Flea by Charles B. Handy. It's a great read by a British thinker ahead of his time.

  2. I won't speak for Red Sage on this one (though it looks like I am), but I will say that one of the best things about working for Red Sage is the flexibility. While we have "standard" 8-5 hours M-F, it has never been a problem to take a long lunch and make up that half hour elsewhere, leave early on a Friday and work through lunch, etc.

    And while Ellen would have to speak on how she views the rewards of that, I can say that as an employee, it makes me more appreciative and apt to work harder during my time at work.

    - Amanda