27 September 2023

Why time flexibility is the next big thing

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Cayla Dengate* says workers logging in at times that suit them is the game-changer that will write the obituary for the nine-to-five day.

You’ve heard of location flexibility, but new research suggests the real game-changer is time flexibility.

Slack Technology Evangelist, Derek Laney says the concept of time flexibility is simply allowing knowledge workers to do their role at a time that suits them.

Perhaps it’s at dawn before the kids get up, or after the sun sets because you’ve been surfing all afternoon.

It could be logging in from another time zone entirely.

When you’ve got an entire team making the most of time flexibility, with very little overlap, how do you get together all at once for a meeting?

Laney says, you don’t — and that’s okay.

“A survey found 30 per cent of managers’ time is spent in meetings where they don’t contribute and they take no learning from,” he said.

“That equates to a huge amount of investment that companies are paying for people to participate just in ceremonies that are no longer fitting their needs.”

Laney says a move to asynchronous work will not be without its “temporary stress and anxiety” but has great benefits.

Slack research shows the productivity improvements brought about by location and time flexibility was four per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

His working group checked in with companies employing time flexibility.

This included graphic designer, Canva’s Finance Department that found it saved 63 hours of work a week by replacing stand-up meetings with asynchronous workflows.

Instead of meeting and taking turns to share updates, they replaced the regular stand-up with tools that allow teams to do their work in a public space, with visibility across the team.

If that sounds like a dream, Laney says it’s worth asking about in a job interview, or talking to your boss about trialling an experiment to see if it could work for the team.

“Leaders who are using new styles of technology for collaboration are essentially using them as power tools to increase their ability to cope with this change,” he said.

“They don’t constantly need their teams reporting back.

“We see in the data that those who are using tools like this are more likely to hold their leaders in high regard — and the tech laggards are facing much higher rates of attrition.”

Is time flexibility something you want in a future or current role? Do you already work this way?

If you could do your job at any time of day, what would you choose?

*Cayla Dengate is a senior news editor at LinkedIn. Based in Sydney, she advises job seekers on how to get hired. She can be contacted at linkedin.com/in/cayladengate.

This article first appeared at LinkedIn.

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