Core Working Hours: What it is and How to Implement it

How can you get the benefits of flexible and remote work without losing the innovation and camaraderie generated by your company's organic interactions in-office? One strategy that has companies excited is known as Core Hours.

Core Working Hours: What it is and How to Implement it

Flexible and remote work systems are great. They help keep employees happy while simultaneously improving profit margins and recusing operating costs.

But one potential downside of these more relaxed work arrangements is that they can make it difficult to maintain a sense of team cohesion, or to get everyone on the same page when it comes to meeting deadlines.

One way to combat this is to implement core hours into your organization's alternative work schedule.

In this article, 4 Day Week will be breaking down everything you need to know about core hours, and how they can benefit your business.

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What Are Core Hours?

When people talk about “core hours”, they're referring to a strategy for helping an alternative working schedule (e.g., work from home) fit in with a company's operations.

The premise is simple:

Core working hours refer to a specified block of time during the day when all employees are expected to be available for work-related activities, such as meetings, collaborations, or customer interactions. Outside of these core hours, employees might have flexibility in when they start or finish their day, as long as they complete their contracted hours.

Benefits to Flexible Working with Core Hours

Implementing core hours allows companies to have their cake and eat it.

On the one hand, you get all the benefits of flexible working whilst having the advantages that come with having everyone working at the same time:

  • Improved Communication: When everyone's in the office at the same time, it's easier to walk over to someone's desk and have a quick chat. This can help with impromptu brainstorming, as well as day-to-day communication about work tasks.
  • Increased Camaraderie: There's something to be said for bonding with your co-workers over shared in-office experiences. Core hours can help recreate some of those experiences, even for employees who are normally working remotely.
  • Easier to Monitor Progress: When all of your employees are in the office at the same time, it's easier to stay up-to-date on their progress and ensure that everyone is on track.

And the approach is also particularly beneficial for companies and staff that require flexibility:

  • Parental Duties: Employees with children might need to drop off or pick up their kids from school.
  • Commuting Concerns: Workers can avoid peak rush hours, leading to reduced stress and better mental well-being.
  • Cross-Timezone Collaborations: For teams spread across time zones, core hours can help ensure overlap for collaboration.

People sitting at table

How to Implement Core Hours

If you're interested in implementing core hours at your company, there are a few things you'll need to do:

  1. Choose the days and times that will work for your company.
  2. Communicate the days and times to all employees.
  3. Set up a system to track employee attendance during core hours.
  4. Enforce the policy consistently.
  5. Reevaluate regularly.

Core Working Hours Policy Example Template

Policy Name: Core Working Hours Policy

Objective: To ensure consistent team collaboration and customer service, while providing employees with flexibility to maintain a work-life balance.

Core Working Hours: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday to Friday

Guidelines:

  1. Availability: All employees are expected to be available and responsive during the core working hours. This means being online, attending scheduled meetings, and being accessible for spontaneous interactions.
  2. Flexibility: Outside of core working hours, employees can choose when they start and finish their workday, as long as they fulfill their contracted working hours and meet their performance objectives.
  3. Meetings: Scheduled meetings should, whenever possible, be set during core working hours to ensure maximum participation.
  4. Absences: If an employee cannot be available during the core hours for a legitimate reason (e.g., medical appointment), they should inform their manager in advance and make arrangements to compensate for the lost time if necessary.
  5. Communication: Employees should update their online status or communicate their working hours to their teammates to manage expectations and ensure smooth collaborations.
  6. Review: This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure its effectiveness and to make necessary adjustments based on feedback and business needs.

The Bottom Line

Core hours can be a great way to improve communication and collaboration among employees. However, it's important to choose the days and times that will work best for your company, and to communicate the policy to all employees. Additionally, you'll need to set up a system to track employee attendance and enforce the policy consistently.

4 Day Week is on a mission to educate employers and employees about the benefits of remote, 4-day working. Head over to the 4 Day Week job board to find the perfect 4-day opportunity for you!

Would you like a 4 day work week?

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