Why a core hours policy is the future of working
Engagement 4 minute read

Why a core hours policy is the future of working

Megan Orr | April 20, 2023

A core hours policy may be the workplace's answer to addressing employee requests for increased flexibility post-COVID. Learn what it entails and how you can implement one at your organization.

As the Financial Post explains, the 8-hour workday was created as a result of worker unionization during the industrial revolution. Before workers' rights took centrestage, employees worked anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. The thought of going down to 8 hours was that workers would have 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation, and 8 hours of rest. 

Of course, we’ve come a long way since the industrial revolution. The last several years, in particular, have been rife with change, both welcome and unwelcome. The rhetoric in the post-COVID workforce is that the future of work isn’t coming anymore, it’s here—and workplaces either need to adapt or be okay with potentially losing out on talent. 

Flexible work arrangements aren’t just a nice-to-have for employees anymore. They are an absolute must-have. Many workplaces have met the challenge by offering hybrid work options, flexible scheduling, with some even opting for 4-day work weeks.

Another option is implementing a core hours policy, where workplaces institute certain hours of the day where employees must be available and the rest are to be used as employees see fit. The core hours can be used for meetings or collaboration on shared projects, with the expectation that employees are accessible during this time. 

A core hours policy can increase productivity and focus.

Having a core hours policy was uncommon pre-pandemic, but has since gained popularity. TechRepublic notes how “during the pandemic, in particular, many people found themselves living at work rather than working from home”, so having a core hours policy allowed employers to set clear times for meetings and focused hours. 

TechRepublic explains that “generally, the core hour block is about half the workday and is generally a three- to four-hour block that extends from late morning to early afternoon”. TechRepublic also notes that many of the organizations that have “instituted a core hours policy [have] found meetings to be more focused and productive”.

In addition to increasing productivity and focus, using core hours can demonstrate to your employees that you trust them to manage their own time. Core hours are also a great way to ensure that specific job functions, such as customer support, operate smoothly by ensuring that employees are always available to work during certain hours. 

A core hours policy is a small change that can have big impacts. 

Implementing a new working hours policy might seem like a big change, but it’s likely already the way your employees are working without being told to. They make themselves available to take meetings during certain times, but may schedule out time in their calendars for focused work during their peak productivity hours. Adding the policy will simply reinforce these behaviours and standardize the hours that all employees are required to be available across the organization. 

If you’re still not convinced, TechRepublic recommends that organizations “select a small team and ask them to do a six- to eight-week trial of a core hours policy, perhaps using 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as your initial schedule to accommodate various time zones”. After the trial period, employers may choose to measure certain productivity outputs, as well as survey their employees to see how they felt about the change. 

Ultimately, core hours policies are a good solution to offer employees the flexibility that they desire, without having to entirely change the way that your organization operates.

Looking for a time tracking solution that could help you monitor your employees' working hours? Learn more about Rise’s all-in-one people management platform by booking a personalized demo.

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