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The concept of working from nine to five is becoming redundant the world over because many organisations are beginning to recognise the benefits of allowing their employees flexible work schedules, shorter work weeks and the option to telecommute.

The benefits of providing employees with these options include lower costs (e.g. utilities) for the organisation, increased productivity levels, higher retention rates and perhaps most important, happier employees.

However, these working arrangements need a stringent supervision system to ensure the timely completion of projects.

Here are some alternatives to the nine to five schedule which have proven beneficial to employees and organisations alike:

1. Telecommuting. The rise of information technology, laptops, high-speed internet, smartphones and cloud computing means that employees no longer have to be in their offices to get the job done. In fact, by telecommuting, employees can stay connected to their workplace and work as efficiently from remote locations, including the comfort of their homes. This is one of the best ways of empowering employees and creating a cost-effective workplace.

2. Four-day work weeks.  Allowing employees the option of a four-day week is a good incentive that reduces employee burnout and increases their productivity while they are in the office. However, the same off-day should not be allotted to more than one person in the same department.

3. Flexible timings. When possible, give employees flexible working hours, according to their convenience. For example, a working mother might find it more convenient to work from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, while her children are at school. Similarly, an employee pursuing higher education in the mornings may prefer working from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. By doing this, employees can best utilise their day.

– Zeeshan Lakhpaty
The writer is a professional corporate trainer.
zeeshan@peopleexcellence.biz

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 25, 2012.

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