Why Full-Time Work is No Longer Sacrosanct

Employers have begun to abandon the standardized 40-hour workweek. A recent survey of 1,200 working Americans illustrated the changing face of work in the country. The survey revealed that 18 percent worked 60 hours or more, 21 percent worked  between 50 and 59 hours, and 11 percent worked somewhere between 41 and 49 hours per week.

The era of a standardized workweek is clearly on the way out. Many workers no longer punch in the same timesheets. Employers are beginning to appreciate the need for managing time better. The desire to enforce fairness through a standard workday is giving way to new notions of why a standard workday is counterproductive.

 

Full-Time Gets in the Way of Productivity

Requiring every employee to work the same schedule regardless of the workflow harms individual and business productivity levels. It also has a number of associated downsides.

One of the downsides of standardized full-time work is mental and physical burnout. The tedium of routine brings about mental exhaustion caused by the invisible cage of routine. Physical fatigue and reduced productivity has resulted from employees and employers treated the standard as a minimum to be exceeded.

Another downside of the 40-hour week is how it ignores the reality that different people are more efficient during different times of the day. Enforcing a strict routine reduces such workers’ efficiency potential.

Routine also stifles creative stimulation. A strict schedule requires creative thinking to be turned on within a specified time frame, which is an unnatural requirement. Creativity does not work according to a schedule.

Keeping workers together encourages distractions instead of collaboration. Distractions can take the form of unnecessary meetings, wasteful conversations, and people getting called away from their tasks.

A fixed schedule also ignores the ebb and flow of business activities with alternating busy and slow periods. A 40-hour schedule leaves lots of downtime during slow periods. A better alternative would accommodate these fluctuations with tools to manage time more efficiently.

 

Emerging Alternatives to the Standard Workweek

Some companies have begun offering new alternatives to the traditional workweek. Among them, startups have tested radically different approaches. So far, there is little to indicate which new method is more efficient or productive, but these new alternatives are becoming popular:

 

  • Four Day and Three Day Week—Some companies are experimenting with four 10-hour and three 12-hour workweeks to maximize productivity.
  • Flex-Time—Flex-time allows employees to schedule their own work hours.
  • Work from Home— Office distractions do not get in the way, while workers can focus on tasks with greater flexibility and autonomy when working from home.
  • Employee Votes—Some businesses are allowing workers to decide their hours on a rotating basis. This allows employers to test options.

 

These new alternatives are evidence that the conventional workweek is no longer sacrosanct. Companies can also experiment with other potential alternatives. Change must come to boost productivity and increase worker satisfaction.

7 Unique Ways To Encourage Accurate Time Tracking

There isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t enjoy getting a paycheck. All those long hours finally become something tangible, something you can use for groceries or car payments. That paycheck supports entire families and college funds. Its importance is obvious and undeniable . . . to everyone.

So then why do so many businesses have such a hard time getting their employees to do the one thing that supersedes actually getting that paycheck?

Whether it’s forgetfulness, arrogance, laziness, bad communication or a lack of functional technology, managers continue to struggle to get employees to consistently fill out their timesheets.

Here are 7 ways to encourage your employees to become better and more reliable at keeping track of their time.

1) Implement automated reminders

This can be highly effective, especially if timesheets are available on the go via a mobile application. Setting up a system through email or text messaging probably won’t cost much, and after the initial set-up, there’s no more manpower necessary. Even if an employee is in his car ready to go, a reminder message might be enough to make him punch in his hours before punching the clutch.

2) Make it easy

If you have a complicated system that’s time consuming, work with IT to make it more functional. Besides saving everyone a few minutes, employees might also become more conscious of their timesheet simply by knowing that you went out of your way to make things easier on them.

3) Explain why it’s important

I know—this shouldn’t even be on here. The importance of a timesheet should be obvious, right?  Even so, sometimes employees don’t fully understand the process behind how they get paid. They aren’t aware of all the intricacies and why their lack of responsibility actually makes another person’s job more difficult.

4) Give them incentives

Some companies offer their employees beer at the end of the workweek if everyone’s timesheets are in by that afternoon. Others stick with traditional ideas like giving away gift cards or donuts or having a raffle.  Working toward a common goal brings employees together. With something on the line, they’ll start holding each other accountable.

5) Have an inside man

Sometimes there can be a disconnect between a manager and his employees. Recruiting the right employee, someone who’s respected, to remind his peers about their timesheets might help solve that problem. There are always going to be some employees that just don’t like taking orders from management. Having a friend, someone they work beside every day, to encourage them could help change their perspective.

6) Don’t be so picky

A minute here and a minute there isn’t going to matter in the long run. Asking an employee to keep track of his or her time in quarterly increments instead of by the minute can make all the difference. It’s much easier to estimate that you came in around 7:15 and left around 4:45 instead of trying to remember the exact times. It’s worth stating again—the easier it is, the more they’ll do it.

7) Avoid seriously penalizing repeat offenders

This is less of a do and more of a do not. Withholding paychecks can get sticky. It’s illegal not to pay people for their work, and although sometimes it’s the only way to get someone’s attention, it’s not a good long-term solution. A punishment like that is a good way to lose rapport among employees. If they’re annoyed, they’ll probably be less apt to go out of their way to make life easier on you.

These are only 7 ways to encourage your employees to more consistently fill out their timesheets, and the effectiveness of each will vary across companies. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for suggestions. After all, this is about them isn’t it?