Monday, December 19, 2011

Flexibility is a Good Thing

On Twitter I follow a guy who uses the handle @nxtArrowpres who tweets a lot about nontraditional business practices like letting your employees have more vacation, unlimited flex time and so on. It all goes back to one thing, comfortable employees make the best employees.

What you think about it the current business model is really stupid. You pack up your shit in the morning to leave the place that brings you the most comfort to go to a place with several rules that seemed designed to make you uncomfortable. If you're doing it right, you spend more of your waking time during the week at this uncomfortable place than you do at home.

If you're anything but a bachelor with no life, this can be a huge source of stress. What if the kids get sick, who's going to take the dog out, how am I going to find time to eat, can I make it to the store before it closes, what can I do for the girlfriend's birthday without compromising work? It gets worse when you factor in the commute. Driving is stressful enough alone, but adding a half hour to two hours to the time you're spent away from managing your life is even worse.

This baffles me. Why companies want to ensure the stress of their employees is beyond me, especially when the solutions are so simple.

In the world of high speed internet, cheap scanners, and VOIP the necessity of being in the office has all but disappeared. I honestly can't tell you a single thing that I do at work that I couldn't take care of at home in the comfort of PJ pants while being able to take the dog out. And not only does this make me a better worker (and more willing to work), but it actually saves the company money because I use fewer resources.

It's not like flextime is all that difficult either. Studies show that employees that are allowed to set their own hours (so long as they meet deadlines and company goals) are not only happier, but also more productive. Not everyone fits into the 8-5 box, so why force them to? If someone wants to work 10-7, let them.

I feel like we stick to the old model because that's the way things always been, which offers absolutely no advantage whatsoever.

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