The Benefits of Non-Linear Working in HR and the Workplace

Non-linear working appears to be taking hold and its benefits are vast. As a professional speaker, I present at many HR conferences and to a variety of organizations. Human resource professionals are constantly looking for ways to grow retention, increase productivity and attract new employees.

It’s clear that over the past 2 ½ years the workplace has changed. Unemployment is low, workers are working differently and HR professionals are tasked with the job of once again finding a compromise between what workers want, need and demand at their job and what employers are comfortable allowing. With workers still holding the upper hand post-pandemic, it makes sense that we try to come up with ways to benefit both those providing the work and those paying for it.

The idea.

Non-linear workdays recognize that jobs are often 7-9 hours. However, the pandemic changed everything. Remote work became the norm, and millions are still away from the office and working from home, sitting in a coffee shop of café and getting the job done.

According to Laura Giurge, assistant professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the growing popularity of non-linear workdays stems from workers having become accustomed to flexible working routines through Covid-19. “Asynchronous work allows people to save commuting time, get admin tasks done during low productivity hours, fit in more exercise and save money having home-cooked meals,” she says.

There’s more. Workers understand hybrid work, have adjusted to it and love the freedom and flexibility that come with it.

Remote Staff Equals Greater Productivity

Statistically, remote staff is quite productive too.

A study by Stanford over 9 months found that working from home increases productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.

In this same study, workers also reported improved work satisfaction, and attrition rates were cut by 50%.

These are the advantages the HR professionals, management and organizations are looking for and it available to them today!

Working During Your Peak Productivity Times

Having control of your day using non-linear working is here to stay. What is still undecided is how many companies will adapt this philosophy. Plus, I’m convinced that individuals have cycles that correspond to their highest levels of energy and focus. For me, 7 am – 3 pm are my most productive times. Creativity flourishes, keynotes and training is polished and new ideas developed mostly during these times. Yes, I can work beyond 3pm and still kick some butt. However, I know me. One size does not fit all. If you want me to be productive late in the day, it’s going to take planning on my part. Just as you may not be an early morning person and do your best work from in the afternoon and evening.

Consider this.

Working Remotely Can Increase Productivity up to 77%

77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time according to a survey by ConnectSolutions.

There it is again! Non-linear is working. Employees are working better, and productivity is increasing. HR may hire fewer people thus focus on their many roles, managers might manage fewer staff and we can work as what suits us best.

Non-Linear Working Gives Freedom and Flexibility

We’re inclined to think that everyone has a house, no disruptions and plenty of space to work when remote. If you rent and have one or more roommates, there can be certain times of the day that are less busy/noisy. These don’t always run from 9-5.

Non-linear working is a great option for parents

Raising young children is another consideration. Flexibility and work are a great combination and non-linear workdays fit well with these parents. Greater flexibility generally means higher productivity, and this is what we’re aiming for. It’s more about getting the work done than it is telling staff how to get there.

Trust is important. After all, staff is vetted, interviewed and vetted more. It makes sense to allow individuals, with their managers approval, to work how it best fits them.

Pre-pandemic, employees still put in time outside of work answering email, completing tasks and working on weekends. This often went unpaid. This isn’t a new idea as much as a new “thought process” into how we successfully navigate the future of work. My belief is that non-linear work will grow in demand, thus placing employers in an interesting position. One that delivers the great staff they need albeit with a different way of putting in the hours than was/is traditional. This fits perfectly into remote and hybrid work and has applications at the office too.

More of a personal life, attending kid’s sporting events and making a doctor appointment during the day can give individuals the freedom and flexibility they crave while still being committed to their job. It’s a win/win!