Is practicing flexi time or flexible working hours by the corporate is good or bad?  Will it really help to enhance the performance and productivity of the employees?  Many corporate these days follow the flexi time culture so as to help the employees to have perfect work-life balance.  Is it possible to draw any corollary to the above from nature so as to strengthen the understanding of the corporate on this?


If we study the evolutionary insights on the feeding ecology of different animals and plants, we get to know about the truth of how many species of animals and plants have nicely understood the importance of the above and follow the flexible business timings in nature.  


For example, the lion, tiger and panther etc., follow flexi hunting hours.  They hunt during the day, during night and even display crepuscular hunting behaviour (hunt during early morning hours) as well.   Whereas many diurnal animals and birds would returns back safely to their roosting site with dusk.  These diurnal animals seldom show their presence in the night.  Similarly, many nocturnal animals also would become active from dusk through night.  However they are not active during the day.


Both nocturnal and diurnal animals follow strict feeding time in nature.  Following fixed feeding time is considered to be an advantage by these species.  Many wind pollinated plants also flower during night hours whereas other plants that require birds or insects for pollination will wait till sunrise.  The best example for day active animal is blue rock pigeon, which is commonly present in the human vicinity.


During different seasons, the animals that follow rigid feeding timing suffers as the rainy & cloudy day would appear like night to the diurnal animals and the leaf falling period can cause the perception of prolonged day to the nocturnal animals. 


Being rigid and strict in following a particular business timings has its advantage and disadvantage as well.  Not being visible to the nocturnal animals is a big challenge to the diurnal animals during night hours. Similarly how to hide their presence of the night active animals from getting noticed by the diurnal animals during day has its own problems.  


The animals that follow flexi business hours have great advantage.  When lion attempt to stock its diurnal prey during night hours, the hunting success is almost certain and similarly, when they attack a nocturnal prey during the day, the prey will have great disadvantage. 


Hunting prey is a very big challenge the big cats have to meet regularly for their survival.  The big cats follow very flexible hunting time otherwise its survival become precarious. The evolution has favoured the big cats with flexi hunting time as they can be nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular predators.  


Following flexi time in the office should not be seen as a ‘corporate style’ but it should be implemented purely on the basis of its merit and also how it fit to the context of the organization.  Otherwise the copy cat exercise would offer neither any good to the organization nor to the employees.   The organizations need to learn a lot from nature.         

Dr S Ranganathan, Director, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
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