An interesting study for Mozy, the online backup folks, caught my attention today. They asked 500 employers and employees in various countries around the world a series of questions about their working day. The study and results can be found here (there are tabs along the left hand side that exposes more content).
For example, on average an employee can show up at work about 30 minutes late and not be “written up” as we used to say back in the day. Mozy concludes that is because people are working from home on average about 45 minutes before they come into the office. Not surprisingly given their Teutonic heritage, German bosses were most likely to demand absolute punctuality with 40 percent of the respondents in the survey requiring on-the-dot attendance. Yet Germans and Americans both were close to an hour of early morning work time before they even hit their offices.
Interesting, 60 percent of workers check their email before 8:30 am in the morning and 60 percent check it after 6:30pm in the evening. About a fifth of the respondents check their emails before 7am. Not surprisingly, the French check theirs the latest compared to other nationalities, and the Americans are online nearly 12 hours each workday.
Certainly, email has been extending the workday almost since it was invented decades ago. What is interesting about the Mozy study is how the Internet has permeated the first world fabric of worker bees and bosses alike. And while there were some differences between the various countries that participated in the survey, there was surprising agreement between employee and employer about work styles. One thing that was interesting was workers underestimated the amount of flexibility employers are willing to give in terms of start times. Employers are also underestimating the amount of time that workers spend completing tasks in their own time.
I’ve seen cases where people who wanted to work from home were penalized as slackers, or outright prohibited from doing so. For the most part, thankfully that is a thing of the past as bosses have realized that workers are being more productive when they are out of the office. But it looks like flex hours are here to stay and growing faster and becoming more accepted in more places. And that is certainly a good thing.