How Important are Flexible Working Hours?

Would you like to have the choice of when you work as long as the job gets done? This is of, course, impossible to offer for many industries, but some companies are striving to think out of the box and offer the most flexible working hours. The objective is simple, to attract the best resources and increase productivity. At ISL Recruitment we have noticed how most companies seek to offer some sort of flexible working. An article by Suzanne Bearne looks at some of the research into working hours:

What Others are Doing

The web development agency, Potato has taken the plunge and now no longer puts any fixed working hours in their staff contracts. Staff are allowed to turn up and leave work at whatever time they like – as long as the work is done.

mom_Pix6“At Potato we work on the basis that creative, complex work just doesn’t fit nicely into the nine to five mould, and the same is true for the 40 hour work week,“ says its Chief Executive Jason Cartwright.  “Instead we give our teams the responsibility of managing their time, believing that they are the best judges of the time that needs to be put in to achieve the best result on a project. By opening up the working day, we can cater to people’s workplace idiosyncrasies to let them do what feels right rather than what a company policy says is right. For example, not everyone is a morning person, but they might work well late into the night. In a nine-to-five model we’d lose at least half of their most productive hours.”

Flexible Hours Improve your Productivity

This argument is supported by Dr Simon Archer, who is studying sleep genetics at the University of Surrey. The findings are that parts of the population are morning people and some are evening depending on their internal body clock. “Everyone is different so there’s no single solution but flexible working hours is one good way to approach this, although that’s not always possible,” said Dr Simon Archer.

shutterstock_208961425In addition, there is growing evidence that reducing working hours can have a positive impact on productivity. A survey conducted by YouGov, 56% of Brits said they would be most productive working up to 7 hours per day; the average working day is 8.6 hours based on a 5 day week. However, Dr Christine Grant, associate academic head for psychological, social and behavioural sciences at Coventry University, believes that a shorter working day could be detrimental to some employees.

“Everyone has different ways of working. For example, someone could be a conscientious worker who takes ages answering an email. It would help with work-life balance, but for those that struggle to manage their time and for roles that don’t have autonomy, it would be too restrictive”.


At Potato they remain committed to their philosophy. Cartwright says by striking a balance between freedom and guidance “productivity is likely to improve, as people take advantage of the space they’re given in their respective roles and take greater personal responsibility for the success of a project.”

The industry and your profession within that industry will dictate how flexible working hours can be applied. If flexibility is very important to you it is worthwhile finding out their policies prior to accepting any job offer.

Please contact us to discuss your career aspirations.

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