Do you have staff who are not performing at work or are unsatisfied with their career progression?
The common remedies managers employ are usually sending staff for training, providing more development opportunities (e.g. more work), giving pep talks about time management and such. Sometimes, what these employees really need is some spare time and energy to take care of things at home so that when they are at work, they can focus or have the energy to focus. e.g. Allowing them to step in late so that they can have a little more time to settle their sick child down before coming to work, allowing them to have a slightly longer lunch so that they could fetch an elderly parent home from an outpatient surgery, allowing them to leave early to pick a child from child care and continue working at home at night.
Flexi-time and flexi-place is not yet commonplace in Singapore. I’ve had the privilege to have experienced the traditional 9-5 job and one that allowed me to work anytime, anywhere. There are pros and cons to each type.
The traditional working hours meant that my time was predictable and I could easily plan child/parent care arrangements. However life, especially for the young and elderly, is ever-changing and unpredictable. In order to care for them whilst sticking to my working hours, both myself and my child/parents/spouse ended up having less sleep when what we all need is more rest. This generated a vicious cycle of sicknesses that take very long to recover and a higher frequency of them occurring. At the office, I ended up taking lots of leave and am still very tired and needless to say, demoralised because my “vacation leave” was really no vacation (e.g. caring for family members). And because illnesses are prolonged, I also have to do work while on leave so that work does not pile up. I end up never really having any rest.
I found that the job that allowed me flexi-time and flexi-place, quite expectedly created a healthier family. I could choose when I could have more rest (when I needed it) so as to recover from illnesses quicker. I bounced back quicker and work does not pile up just as bad. I am not demoralised because of diminishing leaves (as I do not have to take leave for just 2 hours or so). In addition, because of the flexibility, I feel obliged to catch up with work at night, over weekends and public holidays, whenever I can. And when I’m on leave, I’m REALLY on leave, vacationing and taking a solid break. I find myself a much happier person, much more energetic, healthier and even much more creative/innovative, with or without taking any leave! The down side is that life’s schedule is a little irregular. But its benefits far outweigh any irregularities.
I personally vote for the flexi-time, flexi-place arrangement. I did an informal poll with colleagues and friends and found the majority voting for the same – both singles and those with families. Those who could work flexibility all said that they were a lot more creative and productive and enjoyed working. Those who had traditional hours tend to feel more transactional… i.e. they turn up for work so that they can get a salary.
While not all jobs suit the flexi-time and flexi-place arrangement, businesses that can allow for this arrangement should consider it to boost staff morale and productivity.
Help your employees manage their personal lives well and their careers will soar.