This is the final instalment of my work from home series. Other blogs in this series are: my story , inefficiency of the office, risk and rewards from the employer’s point of view, and risks and rewards from an employee’s point of view.
Employers hire employees to get a job done. If the most important thing is getting the job done why then do for many task oriented jobs do they set a time limit to get that job done?
When I had a normal career I was paid a salary to do the work outlined in my job description. It was up to me to get my work done in a timely matter and I was evaluated based on my performance of getting my work done. I was a good worker and I was efficient. I could do quality work in less time it took the majority of my coworkers. There were some workers that would need more than the 40 hours given to complete the tasks stated in their job description and they would often stay late or work on weekends. There were some that needed all 40 hours given and then there were others, like myself most of the time, who could get their job done just as well, if not better, in less than the 40 hours given. Due to the way the office was run, I had to be in the office for at least 40 hours a week regardless of how much time I needed to complete my tasks. I remember many a Friday afternoon just staring at the clock thinking that this system really needs to be improved.
When a company decides to hire an employee they have certain tasks in mind that need to be done. The employer will then put a value on those tasks and then hire someone to do the job. After that, for some reason, employers will set a finite amount of time to complete that task. My point would be as long as the required task is getting done, and getting done well, what does it matter how many hours a week someone takes to complete those tasks? If it took me 25 hours a week to do the exact same job as someone who needs 40 hours why should I have to spend the same amount of time in the office? The job gets done, the employee gets paid. All should be fine.
I realize that this is a simplistic way at looking at something that has evolved over many years but I still think it should be considered. This is not a radical idea and many companies already work this way (this is how outsourcing usually works) but for the majority this requires a cultural change of how to run an office. This notion of being paid for completed work instead of hours worked really became clear when I worked from home. I got permission to work from home because I needed to spend a lot of my days with my family. This meant I had to get my work done quickly and I could not slack off. Like always I worked efficiently to get my work done but in this case I did not have to pretend to work the rest of the allocated 40 hours in the week. I am not saying I always got my work done fast as there were a lot of variables. Some weeks I had to work 60 hours to get things done and some weeks I could do it in 15. To me it did not matter. The company paid me, not for working a set number of hours, but to get all my work done.
There it is; the way I feel office employees should work. There should be a lot of time spent on defining the job position, and time spent on evaluation and then it should be up to the employee to get that job done no matter when they work or how long it takes them. This is the way it works when you work from home in most cases. You set the hours, you get the work done, or else you will be judged accordingly. This system has built in incentives to do the best job possible and incentives to be the most efficient you can be. Free time is such a valuable asset that you will work very hard for the chance to get more of it. It worked well for me when I worked from home. During this time I was the most productive in my career plus I worked the least amount of hours in my life. On both sides of the equation, as long as it is done right, it just makes a lot of sense.