Can flexible working increase productivity?


The Telegraph recently ran an article about more British workers being given the right to request flexible working hours – read article here.

Hallelujah we say to that!

Why? Because the current office environment – typically getting to the office at 9am, staying til 5.30pm, working in an open-plan office, and spending most of the day sitting still – is about the least productive environment we could possibly create. That’s according to scientific research…

If you’ve not heard of him, check out Dr John Medina. He’s a molecular biologist who’s written the excellent Brain Rules – a book that explains, in a fun and easy to read way, how the brain sciences influence the way we work. A “brain rule” is what scientists know for sure about how our brains work – so it’s well worth taking note of. You can see a summary on the Brain Rules website here http://www.brainrules.net.

presentation blog illustration - Can flexible working

One thing Dr Medina explains is that everyone’s brains are wired differently – no two brains are wired the same, not even identical twins. And that means everyone works differently too, with each of us functioning better at different times of the day. To put very simply, a “morning” person will be more productive in the morning, and a “night” person more productive at night (and probably pretty groggy and unproductive at certain times of the day) – and that’s all there is to it, our brains are wired in that way and we can’t fight against it!

With that in mind, what if everyone could set their own hours of work? Granted most businesses can’t offer complete flexibility due to certain commitments; but imagine how far even a little flexibility could go. If people could choose to work at the times their brains are more alert and active, their productivity would no doubt increase. This can only be good for business!

At Presented, we try to offer as much flexibility as we can to staff. Working remotely helps us do this; some of our staff work better at home, some in libraries etc – who are we to argue? So long as we’re getting the best out of our staff they could work in a pig sty for all we care (so long as they didn’t come to visit us that same day!)

There are a whole load of other reasons why the current typical office environment is bad for business, and that’s something we may touch on in another post…

But for now, we say hear hear to flexible hours and making Britain more productive!