I have one of those jobs (if you can call it that – since I work for my own company) that sees me working all kinds of weird and wonderful hours. ‘Tis the joy of television production. (And what a joy it is this week with computers literally blowing up, buggy software and the clock ticking down to Imbi and I getting on a plane for Africa.) Twice in my illustrious career, I worked in organizations were 9 to 5 managers were addicted to the clock. You were to arrive on time to “fly your desk” no matter how late you worked the night before or whether or not it made more sense for you to work somewhere else.
Pamela Slim has a great Open Letter to senior managers that you must read. (I could live without the Che image, Pam.) Her point number 8:
Focus on the work people do, not how or when they do it. Some positions require people to be at their desk at an appointed hour to answer customer calls or to participate in live meetings. But others can do their work from home, early in the morning, late in the evening or dialing in from the local Starbucks. The turnover magnet you have for losing great employees is not the competitor down the street, it is the idea of freedom and flexibility for the self-employed. Your employees have different biorhythms and working styles and activities going on in their lives. If you provide flexible work options and don’t make people sit unnecessarily at their desk, you will keep some great employees who would otherwise leave. A manager who is afraid to offer telecommuting to her employees because she thinks they will slack off is just showing her own weakness. Great managers build accountability into flexible work plans and manage performance aggressively.
Unfortunately, for too many so-called managers, it boils down to control. And they have the insane notion they can control time…or at least your use of it.