In recent centuries, work has evolved dramatically, and we have gone from being an industrial society to one based on knowledge. Over the last few decades, we have greater freedom to choose what we study and what profession we dedicate ourselves to, jobs require less physical and more intellectual effort. In addition, many of the advances achieved in the last decade are due to intelligent and flexible work and the growing demand for balance between work and personal life.
What is asynchronous work, or flexible hours?
Asynchronous work refers to work without schedules, in which the traditional working day, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., disappears and employees are given the freedom to work flexible working hours at times that are most convenient for them. Which means that members of the same team can work in different time slots and different time zones across the globe.
Some people believe that asynchronous work is the future of work, as it provides more control and flexibility than traditional work schedules.
Advantages of working without schedules
Every day, there are more companies that hire professionals in different parts of the world. So it is logical to think that the traditional working day is an outdated and inefficient work system that is not adapted to the realities of the current labour market.
The flexible working hours model has gained popularity in recent years as it provides a more efficient and responsive work environment; and has benefits for both workers and companies:
- The main advantage is that it makes it easier to reconcile work and family life, especially for women, since they tend to bear the heavy burden of organizing the home and raising children.
- It also helps reduce stress and anxiety, as employees can avoid traffic, and the concept of being late for the office disappears, which is a great cause of morning stress.
- Some workers find that they are more creative and productive when they have some control over their own schedule.
- This type of work allows employees to meet in different parts of the world without having to be face-to-face.
- In this way, people can save time and energy by not having to travel;
- companies have access to a greater number of candidates when they want to cover a person on leave or expand the workforce.
- In general, employees find that they are happier when they can work from home, choosing to work at times that are most convenient for them. Which will help them to be more productive, and be more satisfied with their job, which ultimately reduces staff turnover.
The challenges of using asynchronous schedules
However, what is true for some may not be true for others, and there are also some risks associated with this flexible working hours type of work environment.
- It can be difficult to separate work from personal life, and not having a fixed schedule can be somewhat overwhelming, since it requires discipline to be organized and fulfil the assigned tasks.
- Asynchronous work can be difficult to manage, without good planning employees may not have enough time to complete all their tasks.
- It can be difficult to communicate between team members when work takes place in different time slots.
- Customers may not be fully satisfied if they experience delays or problems with the process.
- The lower visibility of the worker can lead to lost opportunities to move up within the company.
- Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to keep track of individual contributions to a project, especially when multiple people are working on a project simultaneously.
- Fostering company culture can also be challenging without face-to-face relationships being developed.
However, these are all minor inconveniences compared to the enormous benefits that working without fixed hours offers.
Recommendations to successfully implement flexible working schedules
At first, managing work without fixed hours can be a challenge, but good planning can help both companies and employees to productively implement this system of flexible working hours:
- First you have to understand the benefits, stress reduction, being able to hire employees in different parts of the world, more autonomous and happier employees…
- Provide communication and work management tools: Employees will need programs to communicate, coordinate projects, keep track of work status, record hours worked… There are many programs that facilitate this, such as Slack, Teams, Monday, Clockme, Hibob, etc.
- Set time slots for meetings and networking events.
- Recommend to employees that they strategically plan for each week in advance.
- Promote communication through all possible channels.
- Regularly meet and follow up with employees to maintain connections and relationships.
Conclusion: The future of work is based on flexibility and work-life balance.
With the rise of work-life balance trends, asynchronous work or flexible working hours is becoming more and more popular. Many companies seek to adopt the system because it makes them more attractive in such a competitive labour market; freedom, flexibility, and independence are factors highly appreciated by workers when deciding on one company or another. There is no doubt that work without fixed hours will become the future for companies globally.