Until now, the norm was to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Such a strict time frame gave employers a questionable sense of control over an employee. However, the basic drawback of this form of settlement was the fact that the working time spent at the office or at home in front of the computer did not always go hand in hand with the employee’s productivity.

Non-linear workday – table of contents:

  1. What is a non-linear workday?
  2. Adjust work to your rhythm
  3. Benefits of non-linear workday
  4. Difficulties that have to be tackled

What is a non-linear workday?

The work model to date is a model pioneered by Henry Ford. When he launched his first production line, he introduced an 8-hour workday. However, it must be openly admitted that technology, people and tasks they perform have changed since that time.

We are mainly talking about office workers here, who use a computer or telephone for their work. The Internet has made it possible for them to do their jobs when they want and from where they want.

Non-linear working time means freeing the employee from rigid working time frames and allowing them to adjust the hours to their personal rhythm. In this system, it is the final completed task, or result, that counts, not the time spent on it.

This means that the employee can divide the work into blocks of time during a given day, e.g. a few hours of work in the morning, and a few in the afternoon. The pattern does not have to be repeated the next day. In this work model, the schedule is dynamic and allows the employee to adjust the work schedule to fit the day.

Adjust work to your rhythm

Non-linear workday allows people to adjust tasks to their own daily rhythm and daily responsibilities. Those who use it can easily reconcile work and daily life. This is an ideal solution for parents. You get up earlier, plan your tasks for the day and get your children ready for school or kindergarten.

After they leave, you have time to complete the tasks, or at least part of them. You don’t have time to finish them by 3pm, and you still wanted to prepare dinner? You can close your computer earlier and return to work in the evening, when the kids are already asleep.

This approach gives you a sense of calm. Thanks to it, you don’t get stressed by too many responsibilities, and you do your work well. You know that it’s the result that counts, so you do your best in the evening.

This is a great solution not only for parents or caregivers. A person who loves working in the garden will be happy to sit in front of the computer in the evening. The same applies to people who want to devote their time to other passions or meeting friends. Such an employee will certainly work more efficiently.

non-linear workday

Benefits of non-linear workday

Inner peace and no stress

Being able to adjust your work to your needs on any given day gives you a sense of stability, and definitely reduces stress. When you know that you can return to work when you have completed all your household chores, you not only feel less stressed, but you also have a greater sense of satisfaction that you managed to complete all your tasks.

Childcare is not a problem

Non-linear working time is an opportunity for people who have previously had to stay at home. Especially for those for whom hiring an additional babysitter was beyond their household budget. By being able to combine childcare and remote work in adjusted hours, these people can gain the opportunity for employment and self-fulfillment.

You can do your hobbies

Non-linear workday routine allows people to pursue their passions or personal development without having to give up anything. An employee can easily take an additional course or enroll in extra classes while working at the same time.

Everybody’s different

It has long been known that some people are happy to get up at the crack of dawn, which is when their brains are the most productive, while others hate working after they have just rolled out of bed.

Thanks to non-linear work, employees who are early birds can start their work before the sun rises. On the other hand, those whose creativity is at a higher level in the evening can take advantage of the peace and quiet after all the household members have gone to bed, and work at night.

Time zones are not an obstacle

The recent years of the pandemic and the shift to remote work mode have caused many people to choose to work from other locations. Many have found that this is the way they want to function, and moving to warmer areas of the world for the winter months and working this way is no longer a novelty. That’s why companies that want to hire top talent need to be flexible and offer non-linear work hours.

Difficulties that have to be tackled

Cooperation is hampered

One of the biggest difficulties is the lack of cohesion in the team, especially when it comes to a task that several team members have to perform. Cooperation is then definitely hampered, and the completion of the task may be postponed. Therefore, the transition to such a mode of work requires preparation and teaching employees new processes.

It does not mean eliminating distractions

Many people see the introduction of non-linear working hours as a way to eliminate distractions. An employee cannot intensely concentrate throughout the day when the phone is constantly ringing or new emails are coming in. However, simply switching to a different work mode will not eliminate these distractions.

You need to learn how to communicate with other team members and convey information clearly to them. When you indicate in your communication program that you currently need to work and turn off notifications of new messages, it will definitely be easier to concentrate on the given task.

It needs preparation

Employees need freedom, but on the other hand, they also expect some framework or norms. This means that you should together allocate time for meetings or communication with other team members. Work out common goals and rules for flexible work. This will make your employees feel free and safe at the same time.

An important step for companies that face non-linear work is to change their thinking regarding online meetings or gatherings. All employees must learn to leave precise offline messages, reports regarding work done or difficulties encountered. This will ensure that colleagues who connect to a server in a different time zone will have clear information about what they need to work on at the moment.

You’ve just read about the impact of non-linear workdays on employee productivity. Read also:What is asynchronous communication?

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.