Non-Linear Working: Changing the Working Day

Did you know that non-linear working is booming? But, what are the benefits of this flexible working style and how has it changed the way we approach time and space in the workplace?
Non-Linear Working: Changing the Working Day
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 14 May, 2023

Non-linear working has emerged over recent years. It’s thought to increase productivity. Along with other strategies, it includes a factor that’s increasingly important in the world of work today: flexibility.

Hybrid and remote jobs favor this method. Indeed, time and space are two factors that are approached differently in the world of work today. It was the 2020 crisis that precipitated these changes. It created an opportunity to test the performance of extended working conditions.

Today, many tasks can be carried out on a computer. This facilitates non-linear working since all you need is a laptop and an internet connection to carry out many tasks. While there might be other duties that are less flexible and eventually require face-to-face contact, in the short term, technology even makes these more flexible.

“One of the main benefits of non-linear workdays is having control over how you spend your time and get work done when you’re most productive.”

-Laura Giurge-

Non-linear working

Non-linear working intersperses work periods with spaces of rest. The goal is for workers to harmonize their personal lives with their work demands. To achieve this, they decide how to organize their time.

With non-linear working, an individual can, for example, get up really early and start their workday before most other people. Afterward, they can take a shower, have breakfast with their children, and read the newspaper. Later, they have the chance to take a half-hour nap, then work for another couple of hours, etc.

In non-linear working, the fundamental idea is that the individual meets their daily, weekly, or monthly objectives. However, their physical presence in a specific place at a certain time every day is no longer important. They may eventually have to attend meetings on a set schedule, but as a rule, they can run their schedule completely independently.

Non-linear work days allow you to organize your time
There are no schedules in non-linear working days. The most important aspect is that the employee organizes their time to meet their objectives.

Flexible time

Non-linear working isn’t new. In fact, for most of history, humans have worked this way. For instance, before the industrial age, it was common for people to start their days extremely early and finish really late. During the daytime, periods of work followed periods of rest. The work was organized according to the needs of the particular moment and not according to a fixed schedule.

But, with the advent of industrialization, large machines in factories forced the worker to be present for fixed periods of time. In effect, society itself began to function like a machine. Within that structure, each piece had to fulfill its role when and where required.

The technological revolution has brought with it a great deal of novelty. Although the means of production are still mainly in the hands of employers, it’s now possible to connect to the system from terminals (computers) to which many of us have access.

It’s also feasible today to maintain permanent communication, in real-time. Moreover, it’s become clear that companies save a great deal and become more functional if they take advantage of this new infrastructure.

Technology facilitates non-linear work days
Virtuality plays a fundamental role in the contact between employers and employees during non-linear workdays.

Higher productivity

Although it’s still too early to draw any definitive conclusions, evidence suggests that non-linear working guarantees productivity. Indeed, in today’s world, flexibility and performance often go hand in hand.

Most people highly value flexibility, which ultimately leads to greater autonomy. The mere fact of being in an office from nine to five doesn’t necessarily guarantee that objectives will be met. But, in linear working, if the objectives themselves are taken as a reference point, they’re more likely to be achieved.

However, this way of working requires trust on the part of all concerned. Employees also require organizational skills, self-discipline, and a precise definition of objectives and tasks. Without a doubt, it’s a way of working that’s continuing to grow. In fact, it’s likely to become increasingly predominant in the coming years.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.