Employee Engagement: Clock is a final obstacle or not?
December 15, 2021
min read

Employee Engagement: Clock is a final obstacle or not?

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova

Recently we’ve been reading a lot about the beneficial impact of the 4-day workweek on employee engagement and company culture.

In the times when forces of mother nature primarily inhibit workplace reinvention, companies are more prone to experiment and improve their performances. 

Encouraged by clearly visible results, we hear additional bold ideas every now and then. Is each one of them beneficial? Let’s see.

Steps to better employee engagement

Tech companies, usually perceived as reinventing forces of the industry, are naturally prone to interventions like these, especially as remote work brought visible improvements in overall productivity. 

Already implementing or pledging to introduce a 4-day week becomes a priority as it contributes towards better understanding of the company culture picture. Studies show that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a four-day week implementation. 

Even though the 4-day week concept was presented in the 1970s, while immediate experiments brought visible increase in productivity and better working environments ratings, general introduction was somehow delayed until the recent pandemic.

employee engagement

Companies, especially in the tech industry are obsessed with the productivity that enables doing more in the same quantum of time. It’s a no-brainer that companies are interested in embracing this concept due to the chronic lack of additional tech hands.

During the pandemic, an increase in productivity brought the remote work concept to the pedestal. Maybe subconsciously for us it was an intermediate step towards demanding less strict working rules, and much sought work-life balance (check our study results). It was the final signal that employees want them, and some companies are ready to embrace further enhancements into work-life balance demands.

Remote work brought to our attention another hypothesis. If remote work is the first step, and shorter workweek the second one, what could be the ultimate one as the last thing standing in our way to unprecedented productivity?

Employee engagement inhibits productivity

Back in the days when Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler from the Best Buy HR department defined Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), a strategy wherein employees get paid for results rather than a number of hours worked, they were, of course, unaware of its global impact. 

ROWE's core ideology is to boost employee productivity and get the best talent while increasing job satisfaction and company loyalty. 

A study reveals that even after almost 2 years of consistent remote working, over 30% of respondents still feel more productive and engaged. 

So ROWE strategy's direct implications could be seen in the remote work concept, as well as the 4-day workweek concept, meaning we are getting somewhere, right? And this is where the ‘clock’ abandonment finally fits in.

Results over time

Remote working has implied that time organization plays a crucial role in human output. 

According to their optimization plan, organizing your time while working from home allows employees to dedicate time for work, family, outside activities, and socializing (when possible due to pandemic rules). 

The outcome is a delighted, productive employee, willing to push and contribute to everyday tasks and, in the end - helping innovate. 

Software developers are naturally prone to work in similar conditions. This is why it was expected that tech companies become early adopters even before pandemic (obligatory) times.

employee engagement

According to an acclaimed study by Microsoft, most employees in tech aren’t willing to come back fully to the office and are eager to continue pursuing remote or hybrid work. 

That brings us to more radical alternatives to time-based work. Abandoning the clock or concept of time (hint: 9-to-5 working ethic) as a measurement of our work effort, brings more productivity if we just start getting things done. 

It could be the final piece standing between us and the holy grail of productivity.

Startup culture already supports the ‘no clock’ mindset

This is a well embraced approach in many startups around the globe - Do your tasks until the deadline, and it doesn’t matter if it’s done during the day or night. 

It’s been around us for quite some time. Sufficient to say that software developers and other tech-related employees find it pleasing. 

When it comes to attracting tech talents, HR departments should first reconsider to make their company culture attractive enough for developers, and then engage in an updated recruiting strategy. Besides efficiency, nowadays much needed for tech teams all over the globe, it brings a fresh angle to innovation. A win-win situation.

Of course, not all jobs can be task measured, but tech ones can.

However, time has to stay (a little longer)

It’s hard to believe that our current reliance on clocks can be reversed so easily. Well, as it took us a lot of time to embrace a 50 years old and proven study approach into concrete actions (hint: 4-day workweek). 

Don’t forget that retention still is in the focus of many HR departments, as employees are tired of long hours and rigid schedules, thinking of changing their current job the very moment the pandemic goes into the past.

That is why companies have to start embracing employee engagement improvements towards overall employees' work-life balance. Not just because of software developers' loud demands, but because the workforce, in general, needs healthier company culture. 

In addition, it will contribute to better talent attraction and wider talent pools.


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