Flexible future | What is the 'non-linear workday', and is it for everyone?

What is the 'non-linear workday', and is it for everyone?

It’s hard to deny the wealth of benefits that remote and hybrid workflows have brought into our lives. However, with so many distinct individuals from neurodiverse to neurotypical and other developments is it truly productive for everyone to follow a set structure of workflows? How can businesses increase productivity?...

Recently, a workflow trend has emerged back into the business jargon called: the ‘non-linear workday’.

Although this theme of work has gained popularity very recently, it isn’t exactly new.

Racheal Roby, Founder of Olive + Blossom and an HR Consultant, expressed: “I’ve been working a non-linear work day for around eight years.”

What is a ‘non-linear workday’?

This subject matter generally centres on a schedule that fits around an individual's personal life.

For instance, it’s quite the opposite of setting forth crammed working schedules and tasks.

Instead, the person has a more flexible working schedule and structure.

Also, this workflow goes hand in hand with asynchronous working which basically boils down to working at different hours and boosting productivity means.

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The Rise of Globally Distributed Teams

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Employees discovered increased mobility and flexibility through remote work, while businesses grappled with uncertain budgets and new challenges to measure productivity and engagement.

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Samantha Kenny, a TED Consultant, states: “I am a huge fan of the non-linear work day!”

As a matter of fact, with the popularity that this workflow pattern is receiving it can grow in time as a frequent means and match the new job market demand.

Research by a McKinsey study of 2022 found that of 13,382 global workers, 40% put forth that workplace flexibility was a top motivator for whether they started a role.

With such demand in the areas of flexibility and autonomy, there is no stopping this trend of the ‘non-linear workday’ any time soon.

Positive or negative?

Yes, the ‘non-linear workday’ is a great way to boost productivity, enhance flexibility, transform work structure and the list goes on and on.

However, it might not be for everyone.

This trend is gaining mixed reviews.

Co-Founder of Lithos Partners, Sharon O’Dea, put forth: “That is, people, getting their tasks done at the time that suits them best - perhaps when they have the most energy, or to fit work around other responsibilities.”

She continues: “While shifting work away from a fixed idea of place (i.e., the office) garners so much attention, to my mind it's breaking the link between work and fixed time that has the greatest potential.”

On the other hand, Patrycja Maksymowicz, Founder and Director of Open Solutions Global, establishes a different perspective: “Many work practices are being disrupted by new technologies. But what really changes the nature of work is by breaking the link between when you work, and where you work.”

It’s also very important to take into account what businesses and employees overall need and if they can adapt to this trend.

Enhancing productivity

A major association with the ‘non-linear workday’ pattern is productivity.

However, productivity differs for many people.

For example, a neurodiverse individual will define productivity differently than a neurotypical individual.

It’s critical to accommodate people's needs according to how they work and how they feel comfortable, rather than how you perceive or believe productivity should be.

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This also is intertwined with whether the ‘non-linear workday’ will suit you and your needs as an employee or business.

Some people feel and do better in structured hours and some feel empowered with flexibility.

Additionally, it’s vital to take into account whether this workflow structure is suitable for a business. Not all sectors can establish ‘non-linear workdays’ for their employees, such as construction, catering and so many more.

It simply depends on you as a person and your needs, whether to go with this workflow pattern or not.

Is a ‘non-linear workday’ for you?

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