A recent study by Cranfield School of Management suggests that employees given flexible hours by their employers tend to work more intensely than workers with rigid office hours.
Published in the January issue of the journal Human Relations, management professors Clare Kelliher and Deirdre Anderson conducted the study. The researchers used a questionnaire to survey more than 2,000 employees at three large UK-based multi-national companies.
The researchers found that those who worked remotely one day a week and workers who had reduced their required weekly office hours tended to report higher job satisfaction, lower stress and higher loyalty to their company than employees who didn’t have flexible hours.
Cranfield researchers discovered that flexible schedules are also linked to increased work intensity in the form of higher productivity and longer hours.
The researchers suggest that this phenomenon is based on an employee’s willingness to maintain equilibrium between that worker and his or her employer. Since the employer has added a new dimension that benefits the employee, in this case the freedom of a flexible hours, the worker is interested in keeping an equal balance and adjusts the scales by working harder in return.
Commenting on their findings, Professor Kelliher said: “We argue that flexible workers ‘repay’ the choice opened up to them, by means of extending a greater effort.”