This morning, I thought of catching up with few of my friends, over the social network. While doing so, I came across this friend of mine, who had started his own venture of a start-up company, along with me. While my company has crossed various milestones of success, he was somehow left behind and was forced to shut down his company, under certain circumstances. I could empathize with him but wanted to intervene, why, despite good investors and resourceful employees, the start-up was shut down. What revealed from the conversation was a silent killer for a start-up, or even for entrepreneurs, students or any professionals.
My friend said he and his employees came to office around 11.30 pm to 12 noon. Once in the office, they went for lunch around 1.30 pm - 2.00pm, just to be back and start their planning for the work at 2.45 pm - 3.00 pm. Once the meetings and plannings for the day got over by 3.30 pm - 3.45 pm they were all back to their workstations starting their work at probably 4.00 pm. They worked consolidated till 5.30 pm - 5.45 pm until they needed another break for tea, and the day ended at 6.30 pm. I could not help asking myself, where is the productivity?
“Flexi” office time is the new trend in the professional world. This comes with plug-ins such as self-motivation, self-governance, greater empowerment. The flexi work timing offers the employees the full authority to come to the office at any time and leave at the time that suits them the best. But can start-ups afford to offer flexible office timings?
When I started my own venture, Nextbrain Technologies, back in 2016, I was also a follower of “flexi office timings”. A typical day would start at 10.30 am, with most of the employees coming at 11.15 am - 11.30 am. By the time all the employees arrived, it would be tea time for those who started their day at 10.30 am. So to provide company to each other, even the ones arriving at 11.30 am would leave for the tea break to be back by 11.45 am - 11.50 am. Starting the system, checking the mails, responding to them, removing spams, clearing thrash, greeting each other and catching up on the latest news landed us to the lunch break officially from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm but was extended till 2.45 pm. Coming right back and working after a heavy lunch is nearly impossible. So after a few yawns and stretches, plan for the daily work would start from 3.00 pm. Meetings with the team leaders and managers, updating on the last day’s work took place, along with some productive work, until 5.15 pm, when we all went for a much-needed tea break. Coming back and catching up our work from where we left would end the day at 6.30 pm.
However, deadlines have to be met and clients have to be delivered their products on time. As a result, most of us actually started a new office hour after 6.30 pm, trying to complete our work, ensuring high quality as well as meeting deadlines. This resulted in extended working hours and staying back at the office until 10.30 pm. We followed this routine for a year and was convinced that “flexi office timings” are not really effective for start-ups. We ended up in 3 - 4 hours of productivity within the actual working hours and extended work till late night, just to complain that we do not have work-life balance.
Where is the productivity throughout the day?
Instead of complaining take a closer look on your day.
Experience is a great teacher, and it taught me the importance of punctuality. We start our day at 9.00 am now, which can be extendable up to 9.30 am. Beyond that time Rs 100 fine is imposed on each employee and Rs 500 imposed on my co-founder and me. We collect this money and use it for charity and social causes, donating in various orphanages. This has indeed a great impact on our productivity. We work for consolidated 3 hours pre-lunch and 4 hours post lunch, completing our tasks, meeting deadlines and that too without extending our working hours. We achieved better productivity, work-life balance and controlled use of other resources such as electricity and water as we all come and leave almost at the same time, thus avoiding lighting up the entire office for a handful of employees.
I have experienced the difference between a punctual workforce and flexible timing workforce and the result is clearly seen by the increase in productivity of the employees, better work-life balance as well as efficient usage of the various resources of the office. Punctuality is extremely important for success and efficient use of all available resources. Get a good work-life balance as well as complete all your projects on time, without staying back at the office over time.