Goodbye 9 to 5: How Flex Hours Have Transformed Our Creative Agency

The Effects of Flex Hours on Our Agency

The concept of flexible scheduling in the workplace—including telecommuting from a different city, working from home part of the week and implementing core hours for employees to be at the office—has swept today’s workforce as one of the most sought-after benefits offered by companies. Never ones to stay behind the curve, especially when it comes to our agency’s culture, we spent the past year working out a way to make flex hours work for our creative agency.

From digging through workplace case studies identifying nuggets we could bring back to our agency to devising a plan for implementation, this is how we are making flex hours work for us.

The Case for Flexible Schedules

Just like any client project, developing a strategy for approaching a subject starts with in-depth research. When evaluating if flexible schedules were right for our agency, we turned to industry-leading publications for guidance. Here’s what we found.

Flexible Schedules Increased Productivity

Time and time again, studies have found employees working flexible hours are more productive than those with traditional schedules. The reasoning behind this upwards trend in productivity has been attributed to several factors, including:

  • Flex schedules allow team members to work during the hours in which they are most productive. While some employees work better in the morning, others would rather trade an early alarm for an evening work session.
  • Employee burnout is avoided by destigmatizing breaks. Flex time offers team members the opportunity to step away from work when overwhelm starts to creep in without having to fear the repercussions of not being at their desk.
  • Flex time employees tend to put in more hours than their in-office counterparts. Many view their flexible schedules as an added benefit from their employer. In exchange, employees are often willing to put in extra hours of work.

Companies Saw Increase in Employee Retention and Attraction

Research shows workers are much more likely to stay at a company offering flexibility in scheduling. In a survey of Accenture employees, about 80% said their ability to manage their work and home life influenced their choice in employer. With flex time offering employees a greater sense of work-life balance, it has the power to directly influence their loyalty to a particular employer.

Of course, retention is only one piece of the puzzle—attracting new talent is another hot button issue for many companies. When it comes to recruiting, flex time makes companies much more attractive to those seeking alternative schedules. Millennials in particular believe flexible work hours would make for more productive work environments for their age group. But the appeal of flexible schedules stretches far past the millennial generation. Working parents or individuals seeking higher education would also place a company offering flexible hours above those that do not.

Boost in Happiness Felt in Work Performance

A large-scale study of European workers found flexibility to be the single most important factor in job satisfaction. This statistic isn’t exactly hard to believe considering the potentially life-changing benefits offered by flex time, including allowing employees to spend more time with their children in the afternoons or sleep in a few extra hours on weekdays.

Also unsurprising is the positive connection between job satisfaction and work performance. One study in particular was able to put a number on that relationship, finding employees were an average of 12% more productive following “happiness shocks.”

Making Flex Hours Work in an Ad Agency Setting

Armed with research and motivation to offer evokers all the benefits of a flexible schedule, we just needed a plan for implementation.

We started with a summer-long pilot program for our new flex schedule, running from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The rules? All evokers were required to be in the office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all internal and client meetings held during those hours. The results? Better than we could have ever imagined.

The overall positive response agency wide, coupled with a measurable spike in productivity and employee happiness, led to our agency adopting flex hours on a permanent basis.

“It’s a competitive job market and retention is a key factor in our growth as a company. We cannot always just pay more to keep people,” says Tanya Zeiher, evok’s managing director. “There are other benefits that contribute to someone’s quality of life as it relates to their job. Flex hours allow people to work around rush hour traffic, tackle doctor’s appointments, deal with last minute kid or pet issues, and just generally give our team members a sense of ownership over their time. This enables us to keep great people who thrive in our company and produce their best work every day.”

Since implementing flex hours, evok has seen an increase in our billable efficiency (percentage of billable hours divided by total labor hours available), but more importantly we’re seeing a happier more productive team that is resulting in greater retention. And at the end of the day, happy employees translate to better work and happier clients.