May 11th is “Don’t Rush to Work Day”! At least here in Austin. The mayor wants you to take your time getting to work. Two months ago, on March 11, Austin was buzzing with SXSW festival goers and if that wasn’t enough, President Obama was in town, so Mayor Steve Adler told us all to stay home.
What a good guy! But many company CEOs or managers don’t quite agree with flex work time or working from home, even though flex hours are an emerging perk at a lot of companies these days.
While Mayor Adler declared the day because Austin’s ongoing traffic problems, it got me thinking how companies would react if this was a nationally recognized action.
Despite the perks of a flexible schedule, many companies are sticking with the traditional 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with some valid reasoning. Having all your employees in one place at the same time can be beneficial to the company’s productivity.
However, the true meaning of having a good work/life balance isn’t just about leaving at 5 p.m. or shutting down every weekend. It’s about being able manage your career and your life. Doctor’s appointments, illness, children’s needs, and errands aren’t always going to happen outside work hours.
Research shows many people don’t always do their best work within the traditional hours of business. “Morning people” would rather start at 6 a.m.; while “night owls” would rather be going to bed at 6 a.m. Isn’t it better to have an employee do his or her best work done possible on a flex schedule rather than forcing them into the traditional hours because of what works best for a single person in the office?
Whether early morning or late at night, I work best without interruption. I don’t like stopping halfway through the day to go to an appointment. But in some cases, we have no choice and it eats into your PTO (paid time off). This is where flex time can be beneficial to many companies. Working 10-hour days, four days a week. Working from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Working from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. As long as you’re getting your work done on time and it is up to the standards of your manager, the hours clocked don’t matter as much.
We’ve noticed some companies in Austin have “summer hours,” meaning they shift work time to start earlier and end earlier during the hot summer months, which saves on overhead— specifically air conditioning during the hottest time of day, 4 to 6 p.m.
I’ve never worked in an environment where flex time was an option, but I have worked in the hospitality industry where weekend work is required and getting a day off during the week is common. Now, after working in both, traditional and nontraditional hours, I can say it’s nice to be able to miss traffic and get errands done without much hassle.
While I don’t see a future where Mayor Adler’s “Don’t Rush to Work” day becomes a regular thing, depending on the industry and city, flexible hours can have a positive impact on employee morale, on drive-time traffic, on tight parking situations, and even quality of work.
For the 9-to-5ers out there, what are your work hours like? Strict, flexible, work-from-home time? Only in the office for mandatory meetings? Summer hours? If you’re job searching, is flex time a nice thing to have or a deal breaker? Let us know in the comments!