Project-Based Schedules – Could They Work for You?

Person working next to window with sunset

by Kelly Sullivan

Picture this: the year is 3000, the planet has been saved, humanity exists harmoniously, and the human race has achieved the perfect balance of work and life.

What part of this picture doesn’t fit with the others? While the perfect balance of work and life may feel like a distant utopian dream to many, we are here to tell you that it’s a lot closer than you think. In fact it’s right here, right now.

Americans live and breathe a culture that revolves around work. A survey conducted by Grand Canyon University found that 56.7% of workers put in more than forty hours of work per week, and 63.3% are used to working five hours or more on the weekends. 

We have been raised to believe that hard work creates value. Wealth equals success. “The grind” never stops – even once you’ve achieved this so-called success. From the day we learn to walk, we’re told that anything is possible with hard work. If you never stop hustling, the American dream can be yours. Unfortunately for many, this just isn’t the case. Many work until the day they die and will never reach the top.

The fact of the matter is, we’re burnt out. The “grind til you die” mentality is beginning to fade away, and employees are taking a stand when it comes to how they’re treated at work. How did we get here? How can we change? Priorities are shifting to benefits, family, happiness, and mental health.

The idea that not working 40 hours a week (if not more) means that you’re lazy and unmotivated is one that many of us have felt since we started at our very first jobs. Fast forward 10-20 years and look at us – tired, cranky, and living to work, not working to live.

I’ve worked in very different fields over the years. The restaurant industry, for example, where working weekend nights until 2 AM brought in the most cash. A call center, where I was chained to my desk for 10 hours a day and given small windows to eat and use the bathroom. Even when the phone didn’t ring for hours, I sat there twiddling my thumbs, thinking of all the other productive things I could be doing instead.

As of recently, I’ve been blessed with a position that not only allows me to choose my own hours, but also runs on a project-based schedule. For those who aren’t familiar, project-based schedules exist with one main idea in mind – as long as the projects are completed and the deadlines are met, the hours in which the work gets done are flexible.

Project-based schedules may not work for every organization, and companies who have been doing things the same way for 30 years might cringe at the thought. But it’s time to throw out the obsession with the timeclock, and focus on the quality of work, employees’ mental health, and a positive work-life balance. You would be amazed at how well people are able to govern themselves within their own work schedules. 

When surveyed, workers admitted to making sacrifices in the name of their jobs, including sacrificing time off, time with friends and family, relationships, and sleep. It’s no wonder that Americans are sick, tired and angry. 

Given the rising levels of stress, mental health disorders, obesity, and insomnia (the list goes on), it’s abundantly clear that we need to make a change. Taking time off should never be a luxury, and even if you work for a company that allows you to accrue a measly two weeks off a year, many still have to beg for the time off or worry that it won’t get approved. 

Working for a company that grants me unlimited paid time off and flexible scheduling has changed my life. I’m so grateful to be able to move my schedule around depending on what I have going on in my life, all without having to worry about using precious sick time or hard earned PTO. If I’ve already been staring at the computer for hours and can tell that my productivity is wavering for the day, I have the ability to walk away and come in a little early the next day when I’m feeling fresh. The quality of my work doesn’t have to suffer, and neither do I.

Project-based schedules can increase productivity and staff retention, bolster workplace happiness, and improve your employee’s general well-being. I feel more inclined to go out of my way for the company I work for if needed. I am treated like a human being, not just another timestamp, and I know that I am appreciated, therefore I show that appreciation in return. 

The goal of any successful organization is to have employees who work for you, but advocate for your company as well. Money is no longer enough when people are overworked and underappreciated. People want flexibility and a positive work life balance. They want to know that they aren’t expected to bend at the will of their job, and that their life outside of work is just as important. 

Project-based schedules are still a dream for many, but benefits like this could make a huge difference to your employees and your organization. Take our word for it, and consider how flexibility in the workplace could have a positive impact on you, your employees, and your company as a whole. Have questions about project-based schedules? Let us know! We’d love to connect with you.

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