Effektiveres Lernen in Dienstleistungsunternehmen
31.01.2018

Working hours in agile companies

In the age of digitalisation we are connected and available at all times. However, for many people this means working beyond the contractual 40 hours per week. Theoretically, the agile work process should prevent us from wasting our time but it does not solve the problem of overtime work and occasionally it even encourages it. Especially in companies which strive to implement agile principles but fail to create the environment of trust and autonomous work.

Trust-based working hours and new concepts

Provided there are no external constrictions, trust-based working hours are a great thing. They enable employees to organise their work schedule independently and react quickly to new situations. The employees should be able to focus on the results of their work instead of sitting in the office - especially if they know that they won't reach the goal that day anyway or if they already reached it. Trust-based working hours are a key component of autonomous work and a beautiful example of trust between the employer and his employees. New concepts should be introduced and implemented to help people avoid working overtime. For example, if employees already reach their goal or cannot reach it on a given day for some reasons, they should be able to unwind during the day, do sports, go to the movies or visit a zoo with their kids. Trust-based working hours mean employees can determine by themselves how much time they need to complete their tasks.

Gently reminding your colleagues, who are staying at their desk late into the night, to take a time out, is also part of this concept. Time management tools such as Toggl can help you control how much time you're actually working.

Supporting and facilitating agile work hours

Being agile means reacting adequately to a given situation. Team leads and general managers should set a good example themselves and support their employees. This could include not answering their e-mails in the middle of the night. Moreover, it is not very supportive to mention during a meeting that a particular co-worker went to the movies yet again - in fact, such behaviour could result in setting this person apart. A friendly work environment is one in which colleagues could talk about a current art exhibition etc. and encourage others to attend. 

Agile companies benefit from their employees' autonomy and their willingness to make decisions independently. It is in their best interest to take the next step and stop confusing performance with hours worked.

Cover photo: iStock

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