By: Matthew Murry
Time Is The Most Important Commodity
Time is the one thing that you cannot gain back when it is lost. You can recover money, possessions, etc. but you can never recover lost time. Millennials and Gen Zers have come to the realization that their time is what they have. They don’t have money because of student loans and impulsive spending habits which came from the mindset of “if you want great things now you need to get it now”. We now exchange X number of life hours for X amount of money to get what we want or need.
“Flexibility wins wars” was a phrase my father would say often. Maybe you can’t get your way 100% of the time but if you get what you request 80% of the time, that should be considered victory. A flexible work schedule in manufacturing says, we know we have X number of hours of work and between employees a, b, and c who want to work d, e, and f hours that will equal X. It takes out the penalty of coming in late, leaving early, and taking long lunch breaks. As long as X amount of work is done within the necessary time, mission accomplished.
This carries over well into remote work. It is important that work is calculated like an auto shop calculates labor. If you determine independent tasks A, B, and C take 40 hours a week, the particular time during the week it is done shouldn’t matter as long as it is done before a set deadline. Instead of making someone work 8am-5pm 5 days per week; if they are remote and work 12pm-9pm the same amount of work is done. The pressure comes from adding more responsibilities to that individual without added compensation or hours per week budgeted. The Great Resignation happened because people realized that rather than being held captive in an office, working remotely they could spend less than 40 hours per week, accomplish the same amount of work, and have more control of their time. The rule is if work can be done remotely and the job is truly a 40 hour per week position AND the employee is a solid performer (minimum 1 year of service) let the job stay remote. This is a VERY strong and attractive retention strategy.
Attracting the next generation will require policies such as unlimited paid time off.. Why would a company pay someone to stay off work without limits when the job requires them to be at the office? The idea is unlimited PTO should not cause an undue hardship to the company AND the company should still dictate how long someone could be off. The key is that the policy should always state “with manager approval”. For example, some years, business success and proper staffing (coverage) may indicate someone could be off 6 weeks instead of 4. That's good business and very attractive to bringing in talent. A healthy culture indicates healthy retention levels which causes less time and money spent on training.