Despite the perception that people today work longer hours, research suggests that most of us have more discretionary time than ever before. So why is it that we all feel so short of time?
It’s not how much “free time” away from work or other obligations we have that matters to our psychological and physical health. It’s the amount of control we perceive over our own time.
A national epidemiological study of more than 10,000 employees in the United Kingdom found that employees with a sense of time poverty call in sick three times more often, and their mortality rate is also three times higher at the same age. Time poverty is a major threat to our well-being and to our ability to contribute at the workplace.
This research and other similar studies have led to the emergence of a new political and social movement in the United States: the “Take Back Your Time” movement, designed to help individuals achieve better work-life balance and more control over their hour-by-hour lives.
Employers can improve their recruitment and retention processes by helping employees use time better and showing prospective employees that the business promotes time affluence for workers.
Here are some tips to help your employees become more time affluent.
- Reward employees with time, not money. Employers benefit from this approach because workers who take time off are more engaged, creative, and productive. Yet people often don’t take all the days off they’re allowed, and when given the choice between timesaving and material rewards, most employees prefer the latter.
- If you have an employee rewards programme include services which enable employees to redeem rewards points for time-saving services like housecleaning.
- Give time-based rewards a cash value.
- Motivate people to apply for jobs that tend to have lower pay with more time off. Show the total compensation package, not just the salary, putting a value on health care, child-care, holiday and sick pay, and calculating it for all. That way, employees will know what the package is really worth.
Marketing time as money could be a crucial talent recruitment strategy, as across all these studies the monetised benefits positively shifted perceptions about organisations. Job seekers report that they thought those employers truly cared about employees and were more considerate of work-life balance.
Take time to think about time. Before spending your next pound ask whether that purchase will enhance your use of time. Before making your next work-related decision, think about the impact it will have on your time with your family, and how much you will enjoy being with them. Remind yourself that it’s not true that there will always be more time later. There won’t!
As a manager, think about the signals that performance rewards and incentives send to your people. Ask yourself whether you make it easier for your employees to ask for more time to complete projects, to spend less time stuck in traffic, to waste less time taking cheaper indirect flights, to reduce stress and improve their productivity.
If you’re an employer with HR queries and problems, get in touch!
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2019 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.
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