27 September 2023

Your job, your hours — time flexibility is on the rise

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Cayla Dengate talks to a business leader who says employees who can choose the hours they work are often the most productive.

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

Slack’s 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 organisations are paying for people to participate 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 were four per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

His working group checked in with organisations employing time flexibility.

As an example, graphic design company, Canva 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, it replaced the regular stand-up with tools that allowed 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 your 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? If you could do your job at any time of day, what would you choose?

*Cayla Dengate is based in the Greater Sydney area and is a regular contributor to LinkedIn with advice for working parents and those who have difficulty finding the right job.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn

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