‘Early bird’ bias can make flextime risky

Source: Vince Stricherz, Futurity, May 22, 2014

New research shows that bosses think people who use flextime to put in earlier days are better employees than those who choose to work later shifts. The study is the first to document such a bias in the modern workplace. “In three separate studies, we found evidence of a natural morning bias at work,” says coauthor Kai Chi (Sam) Yam of University of Washington’s Foster School of Business….Yam and assistant professors of management Ryan Fehr and Christopher Barnes designed three studies to test for managerial bias in flextime situations. The first established that, on average, people make a greater natural implicit (nonconscious) association between the concepts of “morning” and “conscientiousness” than between the concepts of “evening” and “conscientiousness.” A field study explored the impact of this bias in actual work settings and on ratings provided by real supervisors. Even after statistically controlling for total work hours, employees who started work earlier in the day were rated by their supervisors as more conscientious, and thus received higher performance ratings. A final laboratory experiment confirmed the bias. Participants acting the part of supervisors were asked to rate fictitious employees whose performance was identical—the only difference was their work schedule. The acting managers perceived the employees who worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be more conscientious and higher performing than their counterparts who worked from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m….
With Flextime, Bosses Prefer Early Birds to Night Owls
Source: Christopher M. Barnes, Kai Chi Yam and Ryan Fehr, Harvard business review, HBR Blog Netowrk, May 13, 2014