Balancing on-site and remote work through the core hours concept can help companies have happier, more independent—and more productive—employees.
The shape of the workplace is changing. A workday isn’t always 9 to 5, and work doesn’t always take place in an office. Today, employees in many industries work remotely—and they are more productive for it.
According to a Gallup report on the American workplace, the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points (from 39 percent to 43 percent) from 2012 to 2016—and employees who worked remotely spent more time doing so. [mfn referencenumber=1] Gallup.(2017). State of the American Workplace. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from Gallup website: www.gallup.com/workplace/238085/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx. [/mfn]
What are core hours?
Core hours are set times when everyone must be onsite in the office. The rest of the work hours are flexible, so employees can log time wherever they are and whenever they are doing work.
Here’s what a workweek might look like for an employee at a core hours company. Anna attends a yoga class every morning before going into the office at 10 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday. She leaves the office at 2 p.m. to work from home the rest of the day. As agreed, her colleagues are also in the office during these hours. Anna’s colleagues have the same flexible schedule and can complete the rest of their work remotely during noncore hours, too.
Core hours can increase productivity
A survey of 1,500 job seekers conducted by FlexJobs revealed why working remotely is essential to productivity. According to survey respondents:[mfn referencenumber=2] Reynolds, Brie W. (2014, October 1). Survey: People Who Want Flexible Jobs and Why. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from FlexJobs website: www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/survey-people-who-want-flexible-jobs-and-why. [/mfn]
- 54 percent report that their home, not the office, is their location of choice to undertake important job-related assignments.
- 18 percent said they would choose the office, but only outside standard hours.
- Only 19 percent said they would go to the office during regular working hours to get important work done.
This kind of schedule can also help attract top talent because of its ability to bolster another important aspect for employees: work-life balance. In the same FlexJobs survey, 74 percent of respondents said they seek out flexible work options to help them achieve work-life balance.[mfn referencenumber=2] Reynolds, Brie W. (2014, October 1). Survey: People Who Want Flexible Jobs and Why. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from FlexJobs website: www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/survey-people-who-want-flexible-jobs-and-why. [/mfn]
How to implement core hours
One of the most important points to remember is that making core hours a consistent part of your company culture is key. There must be structure and clear goals and expectations for this kind of policy to succeed.
To start, figure out what will work best for your organization. This includes establishing the right balance of core days—not too few or too many. Some companies have only two core days and many designate late-morning to midday core hours. This gives employees ample opportunity to log time before and after those hours. It also helps employees miss rush-hour commutes.
Next, keep in mind that scheduling all meetings during core hours will ensure that everyone gets needed face-time and interaction. The rest of workweek, they can complete what they need to on their own.
Core hours might be a break in tradition for your company, and it can be a bit difficult for some to wrap their head around at first. It’s important to remember that core hours can give your organization the best of both worlds—a balance between collaborative and focused alone time. This mix can increase retention and productivity while lowering turnover in an organization.