Want Increased Output? Stop Counting Minutes and Improve Work Flexibility Options

It can feel counterintuitive not to monitor what you’re paying for. You pay employees based on a contract of hours worked, and every minute they leave early is costing you money. Or is it? Rigid workplace procedures, like clocking-in and out to set schedules, constrict employees reach, decrease morale, and frankly do not produce more output. Flexible work environments are not just a ‘cushy benefit for millennials akin to a ping pong table,’ they are a financial benefit to you, the employer, that should not be trivialized. 

9-5 to Stay Alive

According to a 2015 German Study, when employees were allowed to set their own schedules, including start and finish times, workers put in an additional 7.4 hours a week above they’re required mandate. That is almost one extra day a week! Not seeing work as a set number of hours, but instead viewing work as weekly and monthly projects with your team is the way work should be. With the clock out of the equation, employees can focus on their tasks and deliver high-quality work when they are happy with it, not just because the clock rang five times.

Giving employees greater responsibility over their work output instead of hours gives them the free reign to choose what to work on when. Treating your employees like adults catalysts intrinsic motivation, commitment and overall respect among you and your employees.

Twenty-percent of survey respondents would take a 10% pay cut for work flexibility options and 18% would be willing to work more hours. 


The theory that 8 hours a day outputs the same quality and quantity each day is frankly not human. Can you recall the time you flew through your Tuesday tasks before lunch with the help of that double shot, but also the extra snaily Monday afternoon where each task seemed lackadaisical at best? Chances are you andyour employees work in surges. Demand consistency from your computer, not from your employee.

The Problem With Exempt

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. It is not uncommon for employees however, for “salaried, exempt employees” to work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week without question. When putting in time above the mandate, there is no compensation, but leaving early is subject to docking.  

Sixty-six-percent of all surveyed respondents in the US listed “a boss who doesn’t allow you work flexibility” as a big reason why they’d quit.

Liz’s normal hours are 8:30-4:30pm and is an exempt, salaried employee. One Wednesday, she stayed on until 5:15pm or so to finish a project, knowing full-well she would not receive overtime pay. On Thursday however, when she busted through all of her projects so she could leave a half hour early to attend her niece’s dance recital, she was docked and seen as “clocking off” early, ergo costing her employer money. Why does an arbitrary mandate of 480 minutes directly correlate to work output? Do you work on an assembly line?


Giving your employees free reign on when to work can be too much freedom for some. There will be abusers who walk the line between work flexibility and underperforming.

Flex work options are ideal for those candidates who do well with accountability, autonomy and responsibility.” –Maren Hogan (@MarenHogan), CEO of Red Branch Media

When tasks start falling through the cracks and flexibility is misused, then assess. Communicate directly and right away when you see a problem. If you can’t trust your adult employee enough to get their stuff done on a weekly basis, don’t change your work-flex policy, change your employee.

Walk the Walk

Workplace culture starts at the top. When management monitors and counts every minute, in turn, a minute-counting and peer-monitoring culture develops amongst each level of employees. Do you want your employees auditing their teammates’ lunch times to makes sure they are present the exact number of minutes they are supposed to? This is 2015. The clock does not have to be a necessary workplace evil. The minute you clock-in to start treating your employees as the adults they are, the better the workplace will become for all of you.

Bio: Ryan Mead

Ryan Mead is the CEO and Founder of Vitru, an employee assessment tool that provides recruiters, hiring professionals, coaches and managers with the insights they need to manage their teams and make better hiring decisions. Powered by science, yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams, Vitru work for organizations of all size. Want to learn more? Visit our blog or sign up for a free team building personality test account to assess your team today! Tweet me at@GoVitru.

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