"Yeah, 5 to 9 you've got passion and a vision,
'Cause it's hustlin' time, a whole new way to make a livin”
Before COVID-19, the prevailing theory was that workers out of sight or working remotely could rarely perform at their best, or indeed ‘make a livin’. But that turned out to be a perception bias – just because certain extroverted subgroups may generally perform better under traditional ways of working, the reality for a wider workforce is far more multifaceted.
If you work in a business where ‘9-5’ has no significance beyond the hours in the day you personally prefer to be away from home, then consider allowing colleagues more say in their working hours and location. Allowing introverts to work remotely more often, or parents of young children to time their commute around the school run, is likely to generate positive returns and a newfound ‘passion and vision’. This not only develops a greater sense of inclusion through accommodation, but also sparks real productivity too.
Giving employees more of a say in when and where they work can also help them accommodate dependents whose care they are responsible for, or personal treatments for medical conditions, mental health therapies or gender reassignments that they may not wish to openly discuss with you.
Some may have friends, family or dependants in other time zones who they can only communicate with during the traditional workday. And remember that if you ban travel to Bali (for example) during a pandemic, your intention may be to prevent holidaying to a destination with plenty of viable alternatives, but the unintended consequence may be to cut off any Indonesian members of staff on your payroll from their dependents and support network - wouldn’t you call this ‘hustlin’ unnecessary and preventable?
The ‘9-5’ routine was set in an era with very little diversity, where the routines of most households were relatively consistent and predictable; we don’t need Dolly Parton to remind us of this hamster wheel that we call life. But today, the uniqueness that increasingly fills our societies and enriches our businesses requires a more flexible approach to time and location management.