Rus Articles Journal

Flexible hours: illusion of freedom

Each of us dreams to work in the mode convenient to it. One do not like to get up at seven in the morning on an alarm clock, another - to leave office exactly at seven in the evening. Therefore the flexible hours look from outside so attractively - it gives illusion of desired freedom...

the Tendency, however

When the speech comes about flexible hours, personnel directors speak rather loyally - but it in the theory. And in practice they seldom are enraptured when someone from employees states a wish to plan the working day at discretion.

On the one hand, development of electronic technologies, home computers with Internet access, multipurpose phones, faxes do work of the house more than possible. On the other hand, when the personnel independently plan the work and drop out from - under supervision of HR and direct heads - a situation for our employers unusual and uncomfortable.

not to stop

But progress: in the developed countries the flexible operating mode which was once the privilege of the elite becomes a usual rule - especially among “white collars“. Russia, as always, “walks without cadence“: at us in the last ten - fifteen years a good form are considered to spend the day and night at office, and talk on flexible hours or the individual schedule against such intense corporate everyday life looks almost indecently.

we Slide, we change...

everyone understands the As “flexible hours“. Sometimes in this way call even... irregular working hours. But really in daily practice of the companies three options of flexible hours are used: sliding (individual), by turns and free.

the Sliding schedule

Is provided by

to certain employees in coordination with the management on the basis of the statement and is made out as the document where the variable and fixed working hours are reflected.

Variable (flexible) time is periods within which you can begin and finish work (for example, with 8. 30 to 12. 00 - the beginning, and with 17. 00 to 21. 00 - termination). The fixed time is hours when you are anyway obliged to be present at a workplace (for example, with 12. 00 to 17. 00).

the Sliding schedule is always formed so that for a week (month) the employee worked the same number of hours, as well as all other employees who are in office full time. So in a sense such privilege - only illusion of freedom. If it is provided not to everyone, and is selective, there is a reason for discontent and some tension among “office majority“. Most willingly the sliding schedule “says goodbye“ to future mothers and students.“ Granting flexible hours to those who combine work and study - additional motivator for attraction in the company of young specialists, - Ekaterina Zhukova, the personnel director of the recruiting company “Contact Agency“ explains. - We make flexible hours so that, choosing time for work in the rage from eight in the morning till nine in the evening, the “sliding“ employees worked in a week necessary 40 hours. Thus, it is not reflected in their salary in any way. Not all companies can give such opportunity to the employees therefore in our case the flexible hours are competitive advantage“.

work By turns

Contrary to the developed stereotypes, work by turns exists not only in shopping centers, call - the centers and subscription services. In such mode the staff of large publishing houses, news agencies, advertizing agencies of a full cycle, the construction organizations, etc. work.

it would Seem to

that in such schedule “flexible“? Duration of change is rigidly recorded. However in many companies loyally treat that the employees working in such mode swap shifts depending on personal circumstances - it allows them to release completely some certain day or part of day. Sometimes the schedule by turns is combined with sliding: let`s tell, at standard nine-hour change the employee (in coordination with the head) in one day works six hours, and in another - twelve.

the Free schedule

is a dream of each individualist and creative person whose efficiency sharply decreases in “Procrustean bed“ of the corporate schedule. There is a number of professions for which the free schedule - the integral attribute. These are journalists, copywriters, designers and artists, creators, trainers, agents of insurance companies, event - managers etc.“ We regulate that part of work of trainers which is connected with other employees - reviewers, sellers, managers, - Anna Monosova, the director of the company of “Ars Vite“ tells. - For the rest the schedule depends on such factors as training loading, daily tasks (meetings with clients, preparation of the current trainings and creation new, writing of programs). Also individual preferences of the trainer are considered“.

Plus or minus?

heads - opponents of flexible hours are afraid of

of What? That the employees deprived of control will prefer personal records to the solution of business tasks that it will inevitably be reflected in financial performance of firm. And these fears have the real reasons - it is known that tendency of people to shirk work is considered by experts even by drawing up various economic models.

“If the expert has

no internal discipline and it is capable to achieve goals only under a constant control, the flexible hours are potentially dangerous to it“, - Elena Bulkina, the director of the company “And - the Class Recruitment explains“. Many do not wish to take the responsibility and are not able to structure time independently. For such people change of a traditional operating mode - “ill turn“. Freedom and an autonomy sometimes become so heartrending experience that the worker himself asks to return on the usual mode.

One more serious minus of flexible hours - difficulty with coordination of interaction of the employees working at different times and different days. Nevertheless, according to Elena Bulkina, “if the mechanism of exchange of information and control works effectively, then lack of accurate time of arrival and leaving is quite admissible for those experts who can perform without prejudice to quality the work independently, and do not depend rigidly on other colleagues“.

From the point of view of the employer, the main plus of flexible hours - a possibility of performance of difficult work at that time day which is optimum for the specific employee (especially when the combination of creative approach to the maximum professional return is required).“ Someone surely comes by nine in the morning as morning for it - the most productive time, someone prefers to do “routine“ in the middle of the day, and issues the best decisions closer by the night, - Anna Monosova says. - In my opinion (including trainer`s) you should not regulate many kinds of activity time frames. What is connected with a creative, in general cannot be adjusted“.

Though the flexible hours were not widely adopted

in Russia yet, many companies consider it as the useful motivational tool. Such mode is convenient in those companies where the considerable part of tasks is carried out by the employee in an individual order, without coordination with colleagues where there are accurate criteria for evaluation of result. But within close team interaction or in firms with very rigid administrative structure it is hardly pertinent. Besides, work on flexible hours demands the high level of self-organization and ability to justify the put trust. And it should study.

the Test for the head: whether it is worth entering flexible hours?

If you deliberate

over a possibility of granting flexible hours to your employees, but doubt expediency of such mode, try to answer the following questions: whether

you Are inclined to trust If you answered

the most part of questions in the affirmative, therefore, in your company favorable conditions for introduction of flexible hours were created; but if you told “no“ on two and more points - this measure will be premature and will not bring the expected benefits.

the Test for the employee: whether you are able to structure time?

you always come If you answered

“yes“ not less than four questions, you will be able effectively to work in the flexible mode. If affirmative answers less than four, you suit a strict daily routine more.

Point of view

Natalya Volodina, personnel director of “The Moscow nut company“:
- Flexible working hours - one of instruments of motivation which the company - the employer can use. At its competent application, overall performance of employees increases at the expense of an opportunity to independently distribute and plan the time. The flexible hours are very widespread in those companies where work is based by the design principle. And in some situations it is caused also by production need - for example, for the area managers working with clients of Siberia and the Far East (two o`clock in the afternoon in Moscow are five o`clock in the evening in Novosibirsk). But in production companies, similar ours, application of flexible hours is almost impossible - from - for difficulties of technological process.

Yuli Lubyshev`s

, deputy director of personnel of Heppilend Corporation:
- Flexible hours I regard as very effective administrative resource as it gives to the employee feeling of a certain autonomy. One of its forms - the free mode - is regarded as a peculiar bonus, credibility. And, of course, this privilege more concerns not ordinary employees, but the managing director of a link of the company. However freedom is at the same time and check on durability and professionalism. In this case the head waits from the subordinate still for big achievements. Such trust should be justified, and it will demand from the employee of a bigger concentration of efforts.