When you run a business, your employees are one of your most important assets. Of course, there are many ways you could look after them, from investing in luxury furniture to setting up informal meeting pods for staff to collaborate in. One thing that you may want to also think about is the arrangements you have in place around working hours. Nowadays we’re seeing different patterns of work emerge, from flexi-time to remote working. This gives rise to one key question: Does imposing strict working hours negatively affect your employees?
Strict work hours can have negative side-effects
The traditional way of working has been in place for many, many years and does have its good points. However, making your staff work set hours can also have its drawbacks. This is especially true in the modern workplace where the new generation of employees expect to work in a less fixed way. But what negative consequences could a strict 9 to 5 day bring?
It is too restrictive
Most of your staff will have very busy lives that could encompass things like looking after elderly parents or childcare. This means that set working hours are too restrictive for them. It offers no freedom if they have an emergency that needs to be attended to during their working day. Even for those who do not have these issues, strict hours are still an issue. With no freedom to structure their working day according to what they have on, staff can end up feeling resentful towards a business.
Motivation levels could drop
Imposing strict working hours can also be bad for staff motivation. Being dictated to in this way could make them feel low and not motivated to perform well in work. On the other hand, being allowed more flexibility in working hours will really make them want to work hard for you as a sign of their appreciation. Motivation could also be hit if staff simply feel the working hours do not make sense.
Staff could be less inclined to help
Another negative effect you may see in employee behaviour is their unwillingness to help out at certain times. After all, if you will not let them finish early when needs be, then they will not be liable to work late when a big project needs completing. This loss of goodwill could see employees working to rule and negatively affect their behaviour.
It could lead to poor working habits
If staff are made to sit at their executive desks between set times each day, then they will start to drag jobs out so they have something to do. This naturally is not good behaviour to be encouraging as it will affect how productive they are and the service you offer to clients. It can promote laziness that is then difficult to shake off when you get busy and need staff to work hard.
Strict hours can be bad for business
While setting out hours for staff to work can be handy for some businesses, for many it is a model that may need reviewing. Not only can set hours lead to demotivated staff that could perform badly, but it could harm your business as well. Your customers, for example, may prefer to contact staff outside of the hours you set.
The key takeaway here is to think carefully about setting strict working hours and whether they are what is best for your organisation. Looking after staff is not just about luxury furniture and Christmas bonuses, it runs a little deeper than that.