Windowed work is a concept that not mant employees believed in doing before the COVID-19 pandemic. But over the past four months, it has become a popular reality.

Windowed work is when an employee divides his or her day into distinct "windows" of business and personal time.

New research from Robert Half shows 79% of employees said their job allows for windowed work. Even more telling: 73% of those respondents said the scheduling flexibility leads to greater productivity.

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An example of a windowed work day could look like this:

  • From 7 to 9 a.m., someone may have breakfast and tend to child care responsibilities.
  • Then from 9 a.m. to noon, that person blocks out or "windows" some collaborative teamwork or have meetings.
  • From noon to 1 p.m., do some independent work.
  • Block out an hour for lunch.
  • Maybe from 2 to 3 p.m. do errands such as grocery shopping.
  • Go back online from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Block out a two-hour dinner break.
  • Jump back online between 7 and 9 p.m. to get more work done.

Robert Half Regional Vice President Dora Onyschak said an employee is still putting in an eight-hour day with windowed work, but it's not continuous. It's not rigid where a worker must be online at 9 a.m. and be offline at 5 p.m. It's a customized schedule to suit each employees' personal and business needs.

A big advantage to windowed work is that employees have greater control of their time. They are more motivated and engaged while on the clock, said Onyschak. This also helps relieve stress and alleviate worker burnout.

But as with everything, there are a couple of drawbacks to windowed work.

"It's important to closely monitor the progress. Make adjustments as needed. Maybe the schedule isn't working and you may need to tweak some things," said Onyschak.

Be sure to communicate with managers to let them know when you're available and not.

Another disadvantage is that employees tend to work more and longer hours. If someone is working 7 to 9 p.m, for example, it's very easy to continue working to 9:30 or 10 p.m. She said it's crucial to set boundaries and stick to those to prevent burnout.

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