Author: Ellen Dohm
For a lot of us compartmentalizing our work and personal life is just not possible and not just because of the omnipresence of email. Standout employees are always working, they are thinking up new ideas while showering, driving the kids to school or drifting off to sleep.
Until we come to terms with the fact that separating work from home is a fantasy we can’t begin to look for innovative solutions.
We tend to assume that giving workers too much leeway over when and where they work will lead to reduced effort, that employees will take advantage unless they are closely supervised. Studies have shown that the opposite is true. Placing employees in control of their schedules encourages them to work during the hours they are most effective. Some adults function best in the first few hours after waking and others are sharper in the afternoon. Studies show that employees with flexible schedules work more intensely. We as humans are motivated by a sense of reciprocity, when a manager grants us the freedom of a flexible schedule we seek to repay that benefit by investing greater effort.
Flexible working offers another benefit – it allows employees to handle critical personal matters when needed so they are more focused when at work. Workplace flexibility has been linked with many positive well-being outcomes, such as higher job satisfaction, lower stress and reduced work-family conflict.
Organizations are better off empowering employees to integrate work and life in ways that position them to succeed at both. Companies are the quickest to realize that it is in their financial interest to care for the entire employee – they stand to gain the greatest benefits in the form of stronger loyalty, higher engagement and top performance.