Whether we want it to happen or not, we will be faced with many types of changes.

How is flexibility in your workplace? Are you able to satisfy the needs of your employees while meeting your organization’s (and your) needs?

This can be a delicate balance. Formal work hours may no longer be the norm, but the expectation for promptly responding to calls or messages, regardless of the hour, has increased.

As leaders we need to set clear expectations and be reasonable about levels of responsiveness. A 2020 study reported that:

21% of respondees reported that their boss expected them to respond to calls and texts after “normal” business hours

55% received work inquiries during evening hours

30% received work inquiries over the week-end and same day responses were expected

This may be acceptable for some, but not all. If afternoons are not being worked, have they been replaced with evening hours? Has this been communicated and have scheduling needs, work coverage, and availability been mutually established?

The needs and availability may vary significantly between team members and documenting them is a good idea. If there’s a need for off hour support, who can be available to reply to inquiries and provide support? Will they be compensated for this? Consider including boundaries. Phones will be off during what window? What days can one expect same day email responses?

Forty-hour work weeks may not necessarily be shortened with work flexibility, but it is good to be reminded that productivity, per Stanford researchers “falls dramatically” after a 50+ hour work week. The tools and maybe even the desire to work from home at odd hours may be considered a plus, but we must build in balance and allow “re-fresh” time.

Energage, a company that promotes workplace excellence reports that 85 percent of employees from 1100 companies they surveyed shared “I have the flexibility I need to balance my work and personal life.”

How do you think your team or company would score if surveyed?

Mike and Jan

Invest in your work-life balance.
Time with friends and family is as important as time at work.
Getting that out of balance is a path toward unhappiness.
–Stephen Gillett, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chronicle Security