A Window Into Windowed Work: Time Blocking Improves Productivity
For many workers, flexible schedules have gone from being a perk to a necessity during the pandemic, and new research from global staffing firm Robert Half suggests it's a positive trend. Nearly four in five professionals surveyed (79 percent) said their job allows for windowed work, or the ability to break up their day into distinct chunks of business and personal time. Of those respondents, 73 percent reported the arrangement leads to greater productivity.
"Whether it's windowed work or alternative hours, people are happier and more productive if they have control over when — and where — they do their jobs," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. "Providing employees with flexibility will be just as important when organizations prepare to reopen and transition back to the office as it has been since the start of the pandemic."
Among professionals who have the option to follow a flexible schedule:
- A greater percentage of respondents with children (78 percent) than those without (66 percent) said windowed work allows them to be more productive.
- Nearly an equal number of men (75 percent) and women (71 percent) said they get more done when integrating personal and professional activities throughout the day.
- More employees ages 55 and older (39 percent) noted they prefer a traditional schedule than those ages 41 to 54 (32 percent) and 25 to 40 (22 percent).
McDonald added, "While the upsides of flexible schedules are clear, professionals must make a concerted effort to succeed. Communication is key to ensuring everyone is aligned on priorities, projects stay on track, and colleagues feel equally motivated and accountable to achieve business goals."
Robert Half offers four additional tips for managing flexible schedules:
- Coordinate team coverage. Someone in your department should be available during core business hours to respond to requests.
- Identify your power hours. When do you reach peak productivity: the early morning, late afternoon or evening? Carve out quiet time to tackle high-priority projects when you tend to hit your groove.
- Set wide windows. Bouncing between tasks can be inefficient. Cluster activities that require similar effort and resources, and block off hourlong increments, or longer, to get them done.
- Schedule and share your calendar. Make sure your colleagues know when you're available to meet and collaborate — and when you'll be less accessible or offline.