"When the cat's away, the mice will play" may be a cute proverb, but does it hold ground in today's work environment? According to one study, the answer to that question is no. In many cases, actually, the opposite is usually true. An Inc. Magazine article by Jessica Stillman cites new research from European professors analyzing a large German data set that says that workers who are able to have complete control over their work schedules work more – 7.5 hours a week in fact. Stillman concedes that part of the reason for this is that senior management are usually the ones who are able to have this freedom and will more likely work the extra time, but that is not the whole reason behind this.
If you were to look at the latest blogs and tweeted links from Nathan S. Gibson, you will find news and statistics that show that more employers are hiring freelancers and independent contractors. Part of the reason for this is because of productivity. Freelancers may have a deadline, but they can typically set their own hours. That means they aren't restricted to a 9-5 schedule that may hinder their creativity and productivity. Stillman takes from her own personal experience as a freelancer to say that when you don't have to worry about a specific schedule, you tend to lose yourself in your work in order to get it done well.
Stillman argues that employers who treat their employees as adults who can do their jobs proficiently without someone looking over their shoulder to make sure their timesheets are correct can benefit from more productivity from their labor force. Obviously, there may be one or two individuals who abuse the system, but you probably won't want them to work for you in the first place. While flexible scheduling won't work in every industry (retail, service, some manufacturing), in many environments, it could actually be something that helps save businesses money and improves employee morale.
So what do you think about flexible scheduling? Is it a good idea to give employees more freedom, or do you think that would actually hinder productivity?