Employee Control Extends to Controlling Work Hours
Employee control is expanding to include control over hours worked. This concerns some managers. Ever since Taylorism took hold at the start of the 20th Century there has been a certain obsession with how many hours we work. Managers would obsess about when employees clocked on and off each day.
Modern technology has made much of this superfluous, with employees now able to work whenever they want and wherever they want, thanks to mobile computing applications. Alas the old mentality has proved difficult to shift, with many employers still insisting on a presence in the office at prescribed times of the day.
New data does however suggest light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. A survey conducted by data protection company Mozy found that 73% of bosses in America and Europe are relaxed about employee control of work hours. They have this attitude because they are all too aware that modern technology allows many employees to ‘clock-in’ outside of the traditional 9-5. Indeed, the survey found that 20% of employees had already checked their work emails by 7am each morning, with the average employee having done 46 minutes of work before even setting foot inside the office.
“Employers are giving employees better tools and more flexibility around work time and work place, but in turn they are asking that they be more available throughout the day,” Gytis Barzdukas, senior director of product management at Mozy, said
According to the study, the average employee starts work at 7.42 am, and arrive at the office at 8.18 am, before leaving for home at 5.48 pm. Despite this, many continue working when at home, with the average person not really clocking off until 7.19 pm. Thus technology is resulting in a 12 hour work day for many employees.
The study — which was conducted among 1,000 American, British, German, French and Irish employees and employers — found that, even though bosses understand about late arrivals, about half of employees believe they will mind if they are late.
What’s most concerning is that despite bosses generally being fine if people don’t stick rigidly to the 9-5 routine, many employees believe they do. It suggests that leaders need to take a much more proactive approach to establishing a culture that allows employees a better work/life balance and focus more on outputs than inputs. As this study shows only too well, unless leaders take the lead with this, it will merely result in a presenteeism arms race that does neither you nor your team much good.
Will time clocks become obsolete?