Flextime and the Virtual Office Go Hand in Hand
The work day never truly ends any longer—it just gets paused periodically. From global business to always-on jobs that never fully stop, a generation of new workers is growing up not knowing what it is like to clock out and forget about work. For those of us who have known a true end to the workday, we are learning the new skill of checking our phones at night and taking a siesta before putting in a few extra work hours in front of the laptop.
The fact that work never stops is what flextime is all about.
Flextime returns some sanity back to work by acknowledging that work and non-work need to coexist more flexibly than in previous generations. Instead of working and then stopping, it is now about working, pausing to handle personal matters, like picking the kids up from soccer camp or taking a nap, and then getting back to work.
The benefits of flextime are not just for workers, either. According to a recent study by Stanford University researchers, telecommuting workers are on average 19 percent more productive than their office counterparts. The workers who is in the office part of the time, handles some personal business, and then works from home the rest of the day has definite efficiency gains for employers!
It also results in a happy worker, and one that is often more rested. This, of course, raises productivity and spurs employee retention.
“Flexible work is important to every single employee, whether to help them accommodate child care responsibilities, elder care needs or a marathon training schedule,” argues Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, a flextime advocate.
“It’s time for people and companies to step out from the shadows and embrace workplace flexibility as a core business strategy that will enable employees and employers to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy—while also ensuring a healthy, productive and profitable workforce in the long run,” she added.
Making flextime efficient is not a given, however. It requires enabling workers to work even when they are not in the office. The virtual office can go a long way in providing this.
That’s because the virtual office is the portable office, basically. With a virtual office, the office phone is not stuck at company headquarters. Office files are not stuck in the office file cabinet. Collaborative time with colleagues is not restricted to 8am to 6pm in the company’s physical conference room. With the virtual office, employees who are empowered to adjust their schedule to accommodate a work/life balance carry the office with them for when they’re “on the clock.”
Flextime was merely an interesting concept until the rise of the virtual office as a result of cloud computing and mobile communications. Now it is a practical option – allowing those who are not in the office can still do the work as if they were.
Edited by Blaise McNamee