Windowed work is a breath of fresh air for remote workers grappling with pandemic-related challenges.
While not a new concept, windowed work is gaining new attention. With more staffers functioning remotely, breaking the workday into specific windows of time for different activities is helping people cope with the stresses of balancing job, family, and other responsibilities.
Windowed work is all about flexibility, and remote workers say they need this to do their jobs effectively. According to one recent survey:
- 78% of workers with children and 66% without say they are more productive when they have a flexible schedule.
- 75% of men and 71% of women say they get more done when they can integrate personal and profession activities throughout the day.
- Fewer than 40% of workers say they prefer a traditional schedule.
This flexibility can reduce stress for those who have multiple competing obligations during the workday. Allowing workers to do their jobs without feeling overwhelmed or pulled in several directions can reduce burnout and increase engagement and productivity.
To enable windowed work, management must embrace it while maintaining a leadership role. Specifically, it’s important to:
- Communicate regularly to ensure everyone is aligned on priorities, projects are on track, everyone understands their roles, and all team players are equally motivated and accountable. In addition to Zoom meetings, phone calls, and emails, consider sending a weekly spreadsheet or checklist to keep people on task and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
- If it is important for workers to be at their desks or available to talk at specific times, make that clear in advance.
- Enable two-way proactive communication and transparency.
- Be alert for people who are overworking at home. At the same time, watch for those who might be underworking. Encourage everyone to maintain a work/life balance. The key is accountability and having an effective way to show that work is getting done.
- Make effective use of technology for scheduling, communicating, sharing documents, etc. However, don’t automatically go to videoconferencing or conference calls when a simple email would suffice.
Make sure that workers have the tools, skills, and support they need to be successful in the world of windowed work. Productivity and time management training may be useful. At the same time, make sure they have the tech tools they need and know how to use them.