Sunday, September 04, 2005

'Hours of work' means nothing at all

Since leaving the NHS and being my own boss I have learned many things.

One of the things I have learned is that to insist people turn up for work at certain times and leave at certain times adding up to a certain number of hours a week has nothing whatsoever to do with how effective people are.

I am even more convinced now than ever I was that ‘hours of work’ mean only one thing. That you were in the office for that number of hours. It has no relationship to one’s effectiveness.

I have always believed that there should be more flexibility about the hours people are expected to turn up for work. I am even more convinced now that people should be allowed to work when they like in certain jobs and the way they are judged is not by how long they are in the office but by the results they achieve.

It simply does not follow that if you sit at a desk for a certain number of hours then you will achieve certain outcomes. We just have to become more flexible than that!

So my passion will be to allow people to set their own hours – around their own lifestyle and this will help ensure we get a more motivated workforce.

I am not silly enough to suggest this approach can be applied to every single job but those people who do not have direct contact with customers can easily be more flexible about the hours they attend for work.

I have a feeling that we would see far more effective outcomes - people would work less hours and everyone would be happier …but then I am an optimist. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I think it is going to happen whether we want it to or not. In this age the businesses that provide what the workers require will be able to attract the best talent and the best talent will attract the best (or most) customers.

Are you familiar with the writings of James Handy? I recommend his book "The Age of Unreason."

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Mike - I agree

I think you mean Charles Handy? - he wrote "The Empty Raincoat" and other books - a fabulous author

Anonymous said...

Yes, I meant Charles Handy, thank you. (sometimes my brain escapes from my head and goes wandering around in the office by itself and I have to "wing it" until it decides to come back)