If you want your people to put in more hours, you can go the Google route and offer everything from free burritos to onsite haircuts to keep them at the office longer. But these sort of perks are obviously expensive and probably won’t work anyway if your employees don’t already like their jobs. But what if I told you there’s a far cheaper way to convince your team to dedicate more time to work? In fact, there is such a way, new research suggests, and, better yet, it’s both free and makes management’s job easier. What is it? Just let you employees set their own schedules.
Less clock watching means greater productivity.
That’s the conclusion of a new working paper from three European professors that analyzes a large German data set, looking to see how the type of schedule an employee works affects his or her level of effort. The authors compare how many hours workers put into their jobs with the number of hours they’re contractually obligated to perform for a variety of scheduling arrangements. It turns out that it’s not those with clock-watching bosses who spend the longest hours on office-related matters. In fact, when management doesn’t record hours worked at all, letting employees set their own start and finish times and control their time off, workers put in an additional 7.4 hours a week above and beyond what they’re obligated to do. Some of that’s down to demographic factors (more senior people are more likely to have this freedom and more likely to go the extra mile, for instance), but not all of it, the researchers conclude.