Companies need to get with it and lose this silly focus on office hours. When the majority of American's (or worldwide for that matter) made their living building things in factories -- 9-5 made sense. But in today's knowledge based economy, it is an antiquated thought that I believe stifles the most creative of workers.
I'm sitting here at 11:21pm writing this. Why? Because the thought just hit me. If I try and wait till morning, I'll forget it and this post will never appear. And probably because no one is walking in my office (hard to do when I'm at home he he), emailing me, calling me, IM'ing me -- you get the picture. I can sit and think. Focus. An hour ago, I was doing the same thing -- only it wasn't a blog post it was a big client strategy idea (well in my opinion, we'll see what the client thinks).
Funny thing is, I'm at my most creative place late at night. Later the better. But that's hard to do because I'm expected (like most folks) to arrive at a designated place of business at a designated time. (which makes it harder to work across time zones) Hard to do when you've been up to the wee hours writing, thinking or researching. To be clear - for some folks, I think office hours are necessary. I've known many people in my career that wouldn't work at home or after hours if their life depended on it. That just wasn't their gig -- they work at work and the play at home. That's cool. But for lots of really smart folks that I know the 9-5 gig limits versus expands the impact they can have on their employer. It forces them into an unnatural flow.
More companies should embrace fluid scheduling. Let highly productive employees schedule their lives in 24 versus 8 hour increments. It decreases stress, allows them to better balance their lives and frankly, will make them happier. And for employers, it all but assures highly productive, happy employees that won't want to leave.
The currency of today is ideas. Successful companies (especially marcom oriented companies) will live and die on the backs of their employees ideas, innovations and ability to see around the corner before the competition. So if an employee's brain is most active at 1am, why would you want to temper that? You're paying them to think. So wouldn't it make sense to figure out how to enhance versus detract from that ability?
Yes, I know there needs to be some kind of office hours. Great marketing is seldom done in silo. You need collaboration and not everyone is up for a Skype call at 2am...but seriously, I'm not talking about having vampires on the payroll. What I'm suggesting is to figure out when your employees are most productive and then make sure they're working at that time of day -- even if that time of day fluctuates (within reason).
The other major argument against this POV is that it breeds resentment. Why? Because certain folks can work in a fluid environment and certain folks can't. Employers don't want to have to tell the latter that they don't get this "benefit" because that's a hard conversation and likely, the person on the other end will get pissed. But that's lowest common denominator HR if you ask me. Would you rather piss off the person who you actually have to monitor to ensure work product or the person who can't help but create work product?
I don't know... late night ramblings or important point-of-view worthy of discourse? Only you can decide... that's what the comment section is for... what say you peeps?