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Nearly nine in 10 professionals want to trial ‘chronoworking’

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May 22, 2024
By Talent Canada

Credit: Getty Images/ undrey

A whopping 87 per cent of Canadian professionals would like to trial ‘chronoworking’ – where companies allow employees to choose work hours according to their natural sleeping patterns.

The results come from a survey of more than 1,700 working Canadian professionals, conducted by recruiting firm Robert Walter Canada.

The survey also found half of employees believe their organization’s flexible work policies don’t adequately cater to their specific needs.

In fact, 30 per cent of professionals feel their employer has adopted a “one-size-fits-all” approach to flexible working, such as requiring employees to spend two days in the office or implementing “early finish Fridays”.

Many flexible working policies came about organically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and for employees, it shows. Just over one-third (36 per cent) reported their organization has no obvious approach or strategy toward flexi-working.

“Nearly four years on from lockdown and the onset of remote and hybrid working, and it is surprising to hear that companies and their employees have not found a ‘flow’ with flexible working,” said Martin Fox, director of Robert Walter Canada.

“The workforce continues to crave innovative approaches to flexibility; however, it’s concerning that half of employees feel their current organization’s flexible policies are missing the mark. This indicates a clear need for companies to rethink their strategies. Without tailored solutions, they risk alienating valuable talent and falling behind in today’s dynamic workplace landscape.”

Benefits of chronoworking

Almost half of survey respondents (48 per cent) feel their mental health would improve if they worked according to their natural sleeping pattern, aiding all-round better work-life balance. One-third (33 per cent) feel they would be more focused and productive in the workplace.

“Chronoworking may feel like a somewhat radical reform to hours, but at a closer glance we may find that professionals’ chosen hours would not be that far out from the traditional 9-to-5,” Martin said. “Simply putting more power into the hands of professionals could be enough to help boost morale, sleep, and productivity.

“What this trend does highlight is the desire for employees to shape their work-life around their personal needs, rather than be dictated too.”

He noted that although chronoworking may not suit every person or organization, the popularity of the idea points to a need for employers to explore new strategies that can help them recruit and retain the best talent.

What workers want

When asked what working pattern they would choose if their company adopted chronoworking, nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) cited early start/early finish, followed by alternating between different start and finish times (33 per cent).

Interestingly, just nine per cent of professionals said they would start and finish late or stick to the traditional 9-5.

Although respondents expressed interest in experimenting with a chronoworking model, a fully remote work schedule (41 per cent) emerged as the top choice for flexible working practices they would like their company to pilot.

This preference was closely followed by the option to work from anywhere in the world (28 per cent) and a four-day work week (20 per cent).

Only 11 per cent expressed a preference for chronoworking above all other flexi work models.

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