The way employees work is ever changing. One of the biggest developments in employment is something called Flexible Work Schedules. Flexible Work Schedules offer employees and option outside of the standard 9-5 / 40 hour work week to be employed while still having more control of their daily schedule. With the demands of millennials desiring a higher quality of life and more self-autonomy, Flexible Work Schedules are becoming more and more popular.
Not every work position can incorporate flexible schedules. For example, school teachers must adhere to a strict daily schedule as with nurses or even bus drivers. But for many positions that do not require the worker to be constantly present like designers, sales associates or marketers, offering flexible schedules can be a way of adding value to your employees’ positions. People with families, side projects, second jobs, and part-time schooling can all benefit from the perk of being able to set their own hours in order to better accommodate their lives outside of the office making for a better work life balance.
Flexible schedules can be set up in varying ways. For example, some workers may opt to come in earlier so that they can leave earlier, or come in later to leave later. Some may trade in their hour break to be able to leave an hour early. What is also becoming very popular is the 4 hour work week, where employees commit to work 10 hour days 4 days a week in exchange for a 3 day weekend. The most flexible of schedules allow for workers to come and go however they please providing that their full-time duties are realized. This is an ideal option for those who can work remotely from home or another location outside of the office.
So now that we know what Flexible Work Schedules are, what are the benefits?
According to a recent survey, HR directors in the U.S. have seen up to a 60% increase in productivity after implementing flexible work schedules and a significant decrease in employees taking sick leave. This can be for a number of reasons including the fact that flexible schedules offer workers the freedom to work at their own peak productivity times. Some are more productive super early in the morning, some are more motivated by a full and busy office in the afternoon, some are even night hawks preferring to get most of their work done late at night. Not only that, the autonomy that flexible schedules gives to employees helps to make them feel more satisfied at work and satisfied workers are productive workers.
Reduced Overhead and Costs
This is especially true for offices that allow for workers to work remotely. Now with technology and all of the communication devices and apps that it provides, it’s easier than ever to do full time work outside of the office. Because of this, a company can take on more personnel without having to expand their work space.
Improvement of Employee Commitment
With a flexible schedule, employees are now free to fulfill other pursuits like spending time with their family, involving themselves in other projects and all round getting the balance they need out of life. Employees who feel fulfilled with their jobs and private lives will be more committed to their employers as their core needs are being met. This prevents a revolving door from happening where employees are constantly walking away from their positions in order to find something that better meets their needs.
Improvement of Quality of Life
Workers who work under a flexible schedule have reported a better overall quality of life. They have more control over how their time is spent and that is an aspect that is highly undervalued in employment. Mom’s who want to pick up their kids everyday and be at all of their kids games can now do so. Young millennials who would like to dedicate their early mornings to their favorite cause before heading to work are now able to support that. Employees who are self-motivated and do better in an environment under their control thrive at being able to work remotely. Overall, flexible schedules give workers a much better balance and quality of life than adhering to the age old arbitrary rule of “stay in this room from 9-5 no matter what”. It is individualized employment that helps the employee feel valued giving them the motivation to be more motivated and dedicated in their work.
However just implementing a flex work schedule isn’t enough. There are some key ingredients that you need in order to execute this style of employment successfully.
1) Trust: There must be a mutual trust that the employee is not going to take advantage of setting their own schedule, and management must be trusted to acknowledge when work is getting done, even if they are not there to witness it.
2) Measurable Goals: Having measurable goals is paramount so that an employee’s progress can be fairly assessed.
3) Clear Expectations: It must be made crystal clear and preferably in writing if a flexible schedule is going to be implemented for an employee, what that specific schedule will be and what are the parameters. Any uncertainty will leave the door open for unnecessary disagreements.
4) Communication: This is especially important for employees who opt to work remotely. Putting up guidelines for how often communication will occur and being clear on what the manager expects and what the employee is accomplishing is incredibly important as this is what helps to establish the trust that was discussed earlier.
Flexible Work Schedules aren’t for every business, and it’s not for every employee. Lots of employees work better in a more structured environment where rules and regulations are explicitly set out for them. But for others, this type of work structure may be the answer to offering a better quality of life your team, getting more productivity out of your workers and making the business place feel like space where everyone’s needs are met.