The traditional 9-to-5 work format is no longer effective. Large and small companies are consider alternative work schedule options - including unusual ones.
In an effort to attract new talent and keep existing employees motivated, more and more businesses today are moving away from the traditional 9-to-5 in favor of supporting flexible working hours. Unfortunately, with flexible schedule being a relatively new thing, many employers still feel somewhat reluctant to allow their staff to work outside of regular office hours.
In most cases, this has more to do with the cultural aspect than anything else – a lot of managers can struggle with the idea of an employee working when they can’t actually see them at their desk. However, given the amount of evidence showing how massively beneficial flexible schedule policies can be, we would say that changing your attitude towards it is absolutely worth it.
If you’re on the fence about allowing flexible working at your business, consider the following benefits.
Improved morale and productivity. Allowing employees to work flexibly lets them have a greater sense of control over their working day, which motivates them to work harder and increases their output. Satisfied employees value their position and are a lot less likely to leave the company.
With a flexible schedule, employees can find a better balance between their work and personal life, allowing them to fully focus on their work tasks when needed.
On top of that, every employee is different. Some work better in the morning, while others prefer working in the evening. With a flexible schedule, employees can play to their strengths, which in turn maximizes their performance.
Reduced costs. Introducing flexible hours can have significant financial benefits for your business as well. While incredibly easy and inexpensive to implement, its impact can be measured almost instantly, reducing costs associated with absenteeism and tardiness. Allowing employees to work remotely can also save you quite a bit on real estate and other operational costs.
In addition to that, for a lot of employees the ability to work flexibly is so crucial that they are willing to give up a percentage of their salary to have that option.
More talent options. As we’ve established, flexible work opportunities are a valuable perk for a lot of potential employees. Companies that provide that option automatically appear more attractive, while those that do not risk losing great talent as a result.
Supporting flexible schedule and remote work allows companies to take advantage of a much more diverse talent pool, and hire skilled workers from all over the country (or even the world).
Now that we have covered why you should give flexible schedule a chance, let’s take a look at how you can introduce it at your company without stepping into some common pitfalls.
Do not force this change on your staff. Rather, take time to listen to their feedback and find out exactly what their needs are in terms of flexible working before moving forward.
Get your managers onboard. Ensure that they are well aware of the benefits of flexible working hours, and understand that direct supervision is not always necessary. Inspire them to trust and respect their subordinates, and encourage them to motivate enthusiasm and loyalty in employees on flexible schedules.
Do a pilot run. See how your new policy works over the course of several months, and make any necessary adjustments based on your managers’ and employees’ feedback to ensure that the solution works for both your business and your staff.
Establish a clear process and guidelines for how flexible schedule will work in your organization. Make sure the policy is written in a clear and detailed language, with no room for ambiguity.
Prioritize communication. To make sure that your flexible work policy doesn’t lead to a lack of contact between co-workers and managers, take steps to conduct regular meetings that include flexible workers and remote staff so that they don’t feel excluded from the process. Ensure they are aware that you expect them to be available via both email and phone while they are on the clock.
To go a step further, adopting a company-wide communication tool like Slack could also be a huge help in avoiding the typical communication issues.
Do not forget about overtime. This is an easy mistake to make, and one that could land you in a heap of legal trouble. It doesn’t matter if they’re on a flexible schedule or if they work remotely – as long as your employees are non-exempt, they are entitled to full overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week (with some exceptions).
Keep track of time. Keeping track of your employees’ time expenses is generally a good idea, but it is especially so when it comes to your flexible workers. Simple software applications like actiTIME can double as both time trackers and reporting tools, allowing you to get a detailed look into your flexible staff’s reported work time and see how it compares to their weekly hours.
Although implementing a flexible hours policy may take some planning and hard work, the benefits it can provide both for your business and your employees are absolutely worth the effort. As long as you make it a gradual process, consider your team’s feedback and establish clear lines of communication, you will not only be able to reap financial rewards, but also boost your employees’ morale and make your business more attractive to new talent.