What's the point of work? No, seriously, what's the point? In today's world of telecommuting and virtual assistants - when many job functions don't require face-to-face interaction - it's important to ask ourselves that question. Is the point to log hours for a paycheck, or is the point to complete the tasks of your job effectively in return for payment?
Lets ignore certain drivers like passion and desire and focus on the nuts and bolts of working: Trading time and services for money.
The point of work has become convoluted. There is a lot of emphasis today on the number of hours you work rather than the quality of your work. Employees are so concerned with logging hours that they forget the meaning of work, and they are more focused on the clock than they are focused on grinding out a productive work day.There is something inherently wrong with this work ideology, and it serves as a revealing depiction of how we view work. But the fault doesn't lie with the employee; no, I think the fault lies with the employer.
I've never understood why employers impose minimum hourly expectations on employees. Shouldn't employers be more concerned with the quality of work produced rather than the quantity of time spent at the office? A smart and valuable employee should be allowed to work in ways that maximizes his/her own productivity rather than working a rigid eight hour work day. Talented employees are all unique, and it's more important for employers to cultivate that uniqueness rather than force an employee to work a strict and outdated schedule. Some people work better from home, some people are more productive in the evening, and some people prefer a traditional office setting.
If you've ever hired someone you probably hired them in part due to their unique abilities. If you, the employer, fear that your employees won't maximize their own productivity and need "guidance" in doing so, the fault lies with your hiring process, not the employee. Hire people for their abilities and potential, and let them achieve that potential in their own unique way.
Employers need to place more of an expectation on quality of work rather than an emphasis on clock watching, and I have the employee experience to back that up.
My former boss was one of my favorites. I always felt like he was on my side and I saw him as more of a mentor than as a superior. He was able to get the most out of his employees and his team consistently ranked at the top of our organization. And do you know why I liked working for my boss so much and why the team was so successful? Because he gave us freedom. We were allowed to work from home if we needed to, we were never questioned when we asked for vacation time, and I always felt comfortable coming into the office because I new I wouldn't be micromanaged.
I respected my boss for giving me the freedom to complete my work in a way that worked best for me (no pun intended). He treated me like an apprentice and let me carry out my job function in a way I saw fit. Don't misunderstand me, he required a high level of excellence and always made sure to guide me and grow my skills, but he gave me the freedom to grow into myself.
So the next time you find yourself in a hiring process, don't focus on the work schedule, focus on the freedoms. Employee value is maximized when you forget the clock and remember the essence of work: to get things done effectively.