Industry Insights

Changing Minds on Flexible Working: Hours vs Outcomes?

Dan Polifiore

Change Management Practice Manager

July 8th, 2020

COVID-19 has taught us a lot so far…

  • Society at large doesn’t like being ‘locked-down’ in their own homes…
  • Face masks are significantly less popular in mainstream society than we thought…
  • You can eat a lot more food if you’re home all the time…
  • There aren’t as many ways to make ‘coronavirus’ or ‘rona’ funny as I’d hoped…

The list goes on. (I spend a lot of time in my own head…)

Everything has changed this year. There is no ‘normal’ anymore, but I feel there’s more changing that we can do that will benefit us all.

Specifically, I’m going to channel my inner Dolly, and talk about working 9 to 5.

I’m not going to delve into the history of 9 to 5 hours. It’s a long story, and it’s kind of boring.

I’m also not willing to start spouting about how ‘woke’ I am in light of the pandemic and that everyone should change what they do.

I want to suggest that you re-think HOW you work, and how some small tweaks may significantly benefit you and your family.

I understand for some businesses, and for some roles it’s important to be time-based, and it’s important to work ‘normal’ business hours to be customer facing.

In a lot of roles though, it’s not necessary.

Changing minds: In a lot of roles, ‘normal business hours’ are not always necessary because they are not entirely customer-facing roles.

By way of example, most of my work is done without input from others (unless I’m running a training session, of course). So, why do I still set up at my computer at 8:20am every day, and pack-up somewhere between 5:30pm and 6:30pm depending on who calls at 5:10pm?

It’s because it’s all I know.

So let’s think about how we can shift our mentality to benefit everyone.

Remote learning starts again for us in Victoria this week. We’ve learned what did and didn’t work for us last time, and one of those things was both of us working full time and not being able to dedicate enough time to helping with the school stuff.

I’m going to try and combat that by shifting how I work. I’m going to try my best to get customer-facing work out before lunch, and then dedicate 2-3 hours of my afternoon to helping with school stuff.

This doesn’t mean I’m offline.

It means I won’t always be glued to my screen. I’ll still be contactable if needed, but I’m going to try and focus on helping my son with his work for a while.

Any work that still needs to be done, I can do after dinner, once he’s asleep.

This is my real-world example.

This is me trying to make a shift away from an hours-based role, into a more sensible outcomes-based role. Always contactable, always customer-focused, but always flexible.

“Always contactable, always customer-focused, but always flexible.”

Work needs to change – just as we have had to change. It’s time that we make working from home a normal part of life for everyone where possible, but in a way that doesn’t cause further disruption than we’re already experiencing.

We have the tools.

We have the ideas.

Let’s commit to making our lives a little better in any way we can.

At risk of a bad pun, time is running out for an hours-based workforce.

Start thinking about how being outcome-focused can help shift your role, and your business in a positive direction.

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