There are many benefits to office timing; hosting consistent office hours and checking in with your employees helps you build trust, strengthen relationships, increase psychological safety, and have more meaningful conversations. In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits of office timing in addition to a few best practices that you can implement during your office hours.
What is office timing?
Similar to office hours, office timing refers to the time during the workday when people work in an office. Whether you’re working in a physical brick and mortar location or logging in online, the same principles apply. Some workplaces may have set office times, whereas others may be flexible as long as your work is completed and you attend necessary meetings.
While office timing may be your regular 9-5 hours, it may also refer to the time when someone is physically in the office. Your manager may have office time every Friday between 10-2, during which you can stop in, schedule a one-on-one meeting, or simply chat and catch up. These same principles apply in a remote environment. Your manager may communicate their office time asynchronously so you can proceed to book a meeting or check in with them during their office time.
According to Sarah Collins, Head of Customer Success at Fellow.app, she held office hours daily between 4-5 PM while going through hypergrowth to ensure that she made time during her busy schedule to support her team. Collins said that by setting designated office hours each day, she was also able to better manage her calendar and ensure that there was a dedicated time each day where she could tackle small tasks for her team.
“It was useful for the team because they had direct face time with me, they knew when it was going to happen every single day, and they were able to save up multiple questions throughout the day and ask me them at the same time. So it helped to overall reduce the amount of communications that I got over the course of the day and help me prioritize that time better.”Sarah Collins, Head of Customer Success at Fellow.app
The benefits of office timing
- Fosters trust
- Encourages a psychologically safe environment
- Strengthens relationships, especially in remote workplaces
- Encourages career growth and conversations
Fostering and building trust in the workplace can be difficult, so it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity. Office time offers a unique opportunity to bond with your direct reports, managers, or team members on an individual level. You can use this time to get to know each other beyond work, identify any blockers or aspirations, or even just chat about performance.
If you don’t take the time to set office hours, your peers may feel as though you’re unapproachable. It’s important that you take the time to set aside office time so you can work on building trust and strengthening relationships with your peers.
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2Encourages a psychologically safe environment
As a manager, you may feel as though your job ends at performance metrics when in reality, you’re also responsible for creating an environment that fosters trust, kindness, compassion, and safety—otherwise known as a psychologically safe environment. All your teammates should feel valued and respected in addition to feeling empowered to speak their mind and share their opinions without the fear of negative repercussions. By exuding positivity and creating an open-door policy that allows your teammates to check in with you during your office time, you’re helping your teammates build trust and strive towards a heightened level of psychological safety.
3Strengthens relationships, especially in remote workplaces
Implementing office timing is an excellent way to strengthen working relationships, especially when your team is working remotely. Many remote teams don’t have the opportunity to meet each other and rarely interact outside of team meetings or the occasional one-on-one. Implementing office timing is a great way to let your teammates know you’re open to chatting so you can get to know each other and work on strengthening your working relationship.
4Encourages career growth and conversations
Having meaningful conversations with your teammates can be challenging, especially if you work remotely and don’t have the opportunity to grab lunch or run into them at the water cooler. Having an open-door policy and hosting office hours will allow you and your employees or teammates to connect and chat about your career goals and aspirations so you can converse and learn how to support each other.
8 ways to implement office timing
- Use management software
- Set a specific time
- Ask questions
- Be an active listener
- Motivate employees
- Come to a resolution
- Document your meeting
- Ask for feedback
1Use management software
Using a meeting management software helps streamline meetings so you can make the most of your office time. A proper meeting management tool will ensure everyone knows what to expect during a meeting, what to talk about, when the meeting is, as well as what follow-up action items resulted from the meeting. Without a meeting management tool, you may run the risk of hosting a chaotic, unorganized meeting which may ultimately cut into more office time.
Meeting management tools like Fellow make it possible for teams to have productive meetings by enabling team members to build collaborative agendas, record decisions, and hold each other accountable. In short, you’ll be able to host quick, efficient meetings that make the most of everyone’s office time.
2Set a specific time
Everyone’s busy and if you don’t take the time to get granular and set specific, consistent office hours, you and your team may experience scheduling mishaps. Being consistent and leveraging the same office time from week to week will ensure your direct reports or teammates know exactly what to expect. If you’re normally in the office from Monday to Friday from 9-5, your teammates will know that they can reach out to and get in touch with you during those hours. If you carve out time every week to host one-on-ones or prompt check-ins with your teammates but don’t set these meetings at a consistent time every week, your peers may find it difficult to get in touch with you. Clear communication and consistency are both important elements that need to be considered when implementing office timing.
When implementing office hours, it’s very important that you factor in your teammates’ schedules and preferences. If you move forward without taking anyone else’s opinions or concerns into consideration, you may find it difficult to settle on office hours that appeal to everyone. Asking strategic questions demonstrates your willingness to take everyone’s needs into consideration. Remember, your teammates may be working in different time zones, may have parental or caretaker duties that require them to work different hours, or may even just be more productive during a certain time of day. Taking the time to chat with your team and learn about everyone’s preferences will ensure your office timing appeals to everyone.
4Be an active listener
Practicing active listening is extremely important. Active listening involves four stages: receiving, understanding, evaluating, and responding; it’s important to consider each of these elements when learning about your team’s office timing preferences. Being an active listener can help you build trust, strengthen relationships, and cultivate effective communication processes that will help you shape a work culture that everyone’s proud to be part of. If you don’t practice active listening, you won’t be able to settle on office hours that appeal to everyone.
Motivated employees are individuals who always go above and beyond. They are committed to your organization and strive to meet your team and organizational goals. In short, they are motivated to collaborate and contribute. If you want your teammates to be active during your agreed-upon office hours, they need to be motivated, engaged, and willing to be team players—it’s your responsibility to ensure they can perform to the best of their abilities!
6Come to a resolution
When it comes to office timing, everyone has different preferences. You and your teammates may have conflicting schedules, you may have priorities or responsibilities that require you to work different hours, or you may be operating in different time zones. If you fail to take all of these factors into consideration, you won’t be able to come to a resolution. Agreeing on a resolution that works for everyone and making everyone aware of the final verdict will ensure everyone’s on the same page when it comes time to check in during office hours.
7Document your meeting
If you choose to meet during your office hours, it’s best to document your meeting. Documenting your meeting will ensure you can look back on your meeting if you need to find a piece of information at a later date. It also means you won’t forget anything and you’ll have a point of reference for any action items that were discussed during the meeting.
Tools like Fellow make documenting your meetings easier than ever. You can take notes directly in your meeting agenda and make sure everyone can access the documented snippets from the meeting as soon as the meeting finishes.
8Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is extremely important. Not only does doing so demonstrate your willingness to learn and make improvements, but it also demonstrates your willingness to take your teammates’ preferences or concerns into consideration. If you don’t take the time to seek feedback, you may ultimately end up setting office hours that don’t work for anyone but yourself. It’s important to take everyone’s preferences and concerns into consideration so everyone is able to work, collaborate, or meet during a time that works best for them.
When asking for feedback, it’s important to listen attentively and act on the feedback you receive. If you take the time to seek feedback from your team members but fail to act on it, they may feel as though you don’t value their contributions. Thankfully, Fellow’s Feedback feature enables your team to share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance, making it even easier for you to act on this feedback as needed.
Start using office hours to improve communication today
Implementing office hours is a great way to improve communication with your employees. Not only that, but it also aids in strengthening relationships and getting to know your team members beyond work. If you haven’t already set consistent office hours, this is your sign to start implementing office timing!