Your linear guide to a non-linear workday

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June 13th 2023

Your linear guide to a non-linear workday

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Remember when your job was literally your life?! Well, good news (for some) – those days are over.

It’s official! We’re in the era where work-life balance is the top priority; where employees and employers are meeting each other in the middle, in a bid to work smarter – not harder – to achieve personal goals as well as the companies OKRs.

In our post-pandemic world, employees are now familiar with adapting and adopting many forms of work arrangements (from remote, to hybrid, to a four-day work week) to ensure their employees stayed employed during lockdowns.

It’s this “new norm” that has optimized productivity and job satisfaction – pandemic or not.

So, what’s all the talk about non-linear workdays?

Essentially, it’s about ditching the rigid 9-5 schedule and focusing more on the work that candidates achieve while working — non-linear workdays celebrate the ideology of quality over quantity.

This way of working encourages employees to strive for outcomes and results for more “free time” – it’s a win-win for all involved. So, how do you introduce this kind of thinking at your HQ?

Workers following a "non-linear workday" can create a schedule that fits around their personal lives, as opposed to cramming work tasks into fixed contracted hours — Yessi Bello Perez, Editor at LinkedIn News

First up: Exactly how (and why) does it work?

You know that moment when productivity randomly strikes? That right there is when employees should work! Be it 6am to 11am or 10pm to 2am – whenever your employee is “in the zone” is when they’re capable of producing the best work, so capitalize on that! Non-linear work days here you come.

FlexJobs goes as far as claiming that 56% of employees surveyed feel that having flexibility at work is the best way to support and retain them.

Hold on, before you start thinking that you’re not getting the “most” out of your employees by letting them work on their own clock: the average worker is only productive for 3 hours in a typical eight hour day – that’s right: 3 hours!

so, we did the math for you and it turns out that by enforcing your 9-5 schedule, you’re likely losing about 25 hours each week of productive work by ignoring your employee’s “natural” working flows. Yikes!

So is the 9-5 schedule becoming totally obsolete?

With the mass adoption of flexible work arrangements, it doesn’t take a genius to predict that the 9 to 5 work day brought about by the Industrial Revolution is… crumbling. But what makes non-linear workdays such a threat?

  1. Consistent rise of technology and AI → new techs and AI like ChatGPT have played a huge role in fast-tracking work and automating most of the tedious tasks which ultimately reduces the need for a standard 9-5 work day.

  2. Work-life balance has become a priority → we are in our self-care era. Seeking a better work-life balance on a traditional 9-5 work schedule can make this difficult to achieve.

  3. Productivity peaking → work arrangements such as a non-linear work day can improve productivity considering that candidates have different natural rhythms and energy levels throughout the day.

  4. A shift in attitudes → as younger generations, like Gen Zs, enter the workforce, they bring about different expectations and preferences when it comes to work schedules. Making it almost mandatory to adjust to their needs.

Parallel’s Tip ✷ If you are considering implementing a non-linear work day, think about creating a guideline for your employees. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Ease into a more flexible regime via guidelines that communicate expectations, ensuring that employees continue to maintain their work ethic (albeit at their own times). 

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