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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Flexible Working Hours: Worthwhile or Not?

I hear that question a lot during interviews.

What’s your working hours here?

And my answer is always the same.

Whichever suit you fine.

Of course flexible work-time brings some issues. It will be harder to organize meeting when you have in the team a person who starts at 7am and another who starts at noon if you’re lucky. It can happen that you’ll end up with sleep lovers only and no one would react early in the morning. You won’t predict exactly when your colleagues will be at work.

But these are rather small issues when compared with making people a bit happier. People able to wake up late if they like that. People able to go on errands for themselves during workday whenever they need. You can’t count that in money. It’s hard to verify productivity growth. But making people a happier always works.

There’s one trap here. Flexi hours are often a name for working overtime. Then, well, it’s not so good idea. I prefer to tell honestly: sometimes we do work overtime. It happens. We don’t treat as a normal situation but it happens from time to time. And we don’t call it flexi time.

As far as a deal is fair it is definitely worthwhile. Especially when you work in IT environment where you can find more people who appreciate freedom. If it doesn’t kill your work processes, go for it.

in: team management

2 comments… add one

  • ANDREAS May 27, 2008, 1:43 am

    Overtime is part of our Job. there are quiet times and there are times when you deliver a project that you will need to work overtime to meet a deadline that’s how it is.
    However some other concepts seem to work fine:

  • Pawel Brodzinski May 27, 2008, 3:27 pm

    I think there’s a thin line between giving people more freedom and allowing people not to care.

    It’s easier to move that line further if vast majority of your employees are highly self-motivated people. Unfortunately most companies can’t say that about their teams. I believe Google (still, but they won’t keep it for long time from now) and 37singals are lucky to have great teams.

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