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“I’ll Be Online Later”

Source | LinkeIn : By Sara Holoubek

“I’ll be online later,” you say, grabbing your laptop as you head out the door.

“Please don’t,” say a growing number of CEOs who are radically rethinking the modern workday. Prompted by Millennials who value work-life balance, an increasingly global workforce spanning time zones, and devices that allow us to connect anywhere, anytime, these CEOs recognize the value of redesigning business to accommodate life, and not the other way around.

18 months ago, I asked my team to do the unthinkable: stop emailing after 6 p.m. and on the weekends. Hailing from places such as McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, and Omnicom, staff was somewhat skeptical that everything could be done in a 40-hour work week. But these are clearly smart people, and so in short order we prioritized tasks, right-sized meetings, and modeled the behavior from the top down. Nothing broke, and to this day, I start the day off getting work done instead of answering email.

And yet no one quite believes me that this is true. In fact, they get flustered. Of all the human-friendly policies we have researched for the Human Company Playbook, those that deal with working hours are perhaps the most contentious.

In a world that is always on, when does work stop?

In one corner is the argument for flexible hours, the darling of the tech set. When executed well, this approach allows staff to work when they work best while navigating life events that don’t naturally fall before 9 a.m. or 6 p.m. However, probe a bit further and many employees admit that flexible hours often mean “always working,” with little or no ability to shut off.

In the other corner is the 9-to-5 (or 6…or 7…) model, which can feel downright quaintin 2016. And yet it is making a comeback. At its best, a set hours policy has clearly defined and predictable boundaries, allowing staff to enjoy life outside of work. At its worst, this model can feel rigid, valuing “face time” over quality work.

So which working-hours policy—one that encourages quality work without burning out your staff—is right for your company? Here’s what four CEOs who participated in our ongoing Human Company Design research had to say.

Work When You Work Best

It should come as no surprise that Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder and COO of The Muse, promotes a thoroughly modern model. Informed by the 50 million (mostly Millennial) people who tap her company’s website to navigate their careers, Cavoulacos has codified a flexible work policy that encourages productivity while accommodating for life. “The human thing is to give people the chance to make the choices they need for their lives,” says Cavoulacos, a self-admitted night owl who arrives at work no earlier than 10 a.m.

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