4 reasons employees shouldn’t have set hours

Having set working hours takes employees’ focus away from accomplishing good work, this entrepreneur says.

It’s time to bring your company into the 21st century, where work isn’t about clocking hours, but accomplishing goals.

The traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week is just that: traditional.

It’s a fossil from an era when the number of hours an employee clocked on a production line was a simplified measurement of productivity. Although the nature of work has clearly changed, businesses still automatically adopt this rigid schedule without considering its effects on both employees and happiness—two things that should fall together seamlessly.

Employers ensure an erosion of employee trust by strictly enforcing when their employees must complete their work. This puts employees on a fast-track to feeling less autonomous. And nothing kills productivity like an environment where employees feel forced to work.

Your employees should want to complete their work—for the greater good of the company and simply because they enjoy what they do.

Learn from my experiences. Giving employees the freedom to come and leave has the potential to increase their productivity and output. It’s a win-win.

Here are four reasons why you need to end set working hours:

1. It’s a productivity killer.

Setting specific time parameters for your employees ties their success to when they come and leave the office—not which goals they’ve met. Productivity isn’t tied to the presence of an employee. Simply being seated at a desk or attending a meeting doesn’t mean work is being completed. Let’s face it: Filling the requirement of being in an office is far from motivating.

2. It doesn’t build trust.

Employees should passionately want to meet their goals. Let them do so in the ways they see fit. That way they’re more likely to own their work and be the best they can be.

3. It’s distracting.

It’s highly unlikely that your employees’ tasks fit within a 9-to-5 schedule. Why do you want them to be stuck thinking about how many hours they clock rather than meeting their goals?

Allow your employees to determine how long they must be at the office to get something done. After all, during a big project it’s important your employees don’t feel inclined to exit as soon as the clock strikes 5 p.m. Your staff should set and meet quotas based on work, not time.

4. It works against teamwork.

Working on a team can make a huge difference when it comes to productivity, although having team members bound by set hours often produces issues regarding who’s pulling their weight.

Instead, let your employees focus on meeting team goals and collaborating to make them happen. This can mean a team effort in the office during the same hours, or working individually in divided chunks of time.

Dropping your employees’ standard hours may require a cultural shift within your company, but not all change is bad. In fact, this one will reap benefits of increased flexibility and autonomy. Employee happiness and productivity is linked to trust, and enforcing hours shows exactly the opposite.

How does your company handle the timing of the work day? Have you noticed a link to productivity?

Ilya Pozin is founder of Ciplex and a columnist for Inc., Forbes and LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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