Never do this when granting flex time

ManagementIt’s said that if you snooze, you lose.

Apparently that goes for flex time as well. Here’s what I mean.

Flex time is intended to allow people the best time structure to make them most productive, within reason, of course.

But not all flex schedules are perceived as being equal.

A report from the University of Washington’s Foster School says that those with early flex hours are considered better overall employees by their managers than those who opt for later flex hours.

Flex time early bird

And so, with this study, let me introduce a brand new workplace phenomenon now known as flexible scheduling bias. (As if managers didn’t have enough to worry about!)

I Dare You
After conducting three separate experiments on managerial bias toward flexible scheduling, Washington University researchers came to the same conclusion: Managers view employees who start work earlier as more conscientious and more productive than those who start later.

 “Compared to people who choose to work earlier in the day, people who choose to work later in the day are implicitly assumed to be less conscientious and less effective in their jobs.”

The study says people who opt for later schedules are setting themselves up to be judged by factors that have little or nothing to do with how well they do their jobs.

Needless to say, working a later schedule could have a negative impact on pay and career opportunities.

Be objective

When you include compressed work weeks, job-sharing and flex-time, it is estimated that 80% of U.S. companies offer some type of non-traditional work schedule. So there is a lot of opportunity for manager bias regarding flex-scheduling to become an issue.

So what should good managers do about all this, if anything?

One option caution all your managers and supervisors to be aware of our apparently natural tendency to stereotype night owls as less productive.

Another piece of timeless advice is also helpful: Be sure performance metrics are based on objective, measurable and pertinent standards.

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  1. Keep in mind the schedules/time zones of vendors that your employees work with. My programmer is in a zone 2 hrs behind us, plus he arrives at work an hour later, so if I get to work at 8:00 a.m. I have to wait until 11:00 a.m. (my time) before I can make first contact. If a manager is judging their employees by the hours they work the manager needs to stay and work with the employee to see what they do in the later hours. For a lot of people the beauty of working after the office officially closes is in: no phones ringing; no walk-in customers; no co-workers yapping about their kids/animals/latest vacation. The tension of the day eases and it’s easier to concentrate. If an employee stays late they are wading thru the latest emails, mail, paperwork that needs processed, data research; all the things that are easy to interrupt during the course of a regular day, but need to be done so they are prepared for the next day.
    Don’t judge. Ask questions; develop solutions.

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