According to CPA Practice Advisor, the new flexibility in employee schedules that has come about as a result of the rise of telecommuting during the COVID-19 Pandemic is proving to be a positive trend for productivity. A recent study published by prominent staffing company Robert Half supports this claim. 79% of those surveyed said that they had incorporated dedicated blocks of time for work and personal tasks as part of their new schedule. 73% of those who reported that their jobs allowed for this “windowed” time reported that it increased their productivity while working.  

Males and females responded in nearly equal percentages regarding the positive effects of time blocking work and personal tasks during the day. Those with children were more likely to report feeling that this type of schedule benefitted them.  A larger percentage of older respondents (age 55+) preferred a traditional workday. 

The overall trend of the data, which reported increased productivity due to time blocking, is likely due to employees feeling more control over when, where, and how they are completing their job tasks. This flexibility leads to greater happiness amongst workers, who are then more efficient during their blocks of work time.

As long as teams are communicating regularly, have aligned goals, and are making an effort to ensure that everyone is meeting appropriate benchmarks and projects are staying on track, maintaining this flexible scheduling after the coronavirus crisis is likely to help businesses maintain employee satisfaction. 

Robert Half also provided a few tips on making this type of time blocking effective. They recommend coordinating your team member’s schedules to make sure that there is always someone accessible to clients or customers during regular business hours. Encouraging staff to schedule and send their calendars to one another so that everybody can see when their colleagues are available is also a great way to encourage effective communication. 

In order to maximize productivity, Robert Half emphasizes the importance of identifying the hours in which you are most productive and scheduling your most essential or difficult work during these hours. Make sure to block out larger chunks of time. A minimum of one hour will help you solidly focus on the task at hand before moving on.

While the current pandemic has offered many challenges and disruptions in the traditional work schedule, there are also positives to the situation. Analyzing the data in surveys like the one detailed above allows small business owners to increase both productivity and employee satisfaction for an overall positive change in their long-term work environments.

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