Flexible Schedules and Remote Work: What Employers Need to Know

calendar June 6, 2019

It’s no secret that today’s employees value flexibility. If your company hasn’t looked into ways to attract and retain talent by offering a variety of work and scheduling options, you’re falling behind the curve.

But you can’t just say yes to remote work and start sending people home. Your flexible scheduling plan needs to have some structure behind it.

One size does not fit all

Depending on what kind of business you’re running, the level of remote work and scheduling options you can offer will vary. Things like telecommuting, variable hours, and job sharing can work really well in some situations— but be nearly impossible in others.

Even if you are really excited about the idea of being more flexible as a company, you’re going to need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do.

Questions to ask:

  • Do remote options make sense based on the type of work your staff performs?
  • Are there departments/positions/locations where it could potentially work well?
  • Are there certain areas/roles/functions where remote work just isn’t feasible?
  • How will you manage that difference?

Remember that flexibility comes in all shapes and sizes. If you can’t offer remote working options to everyone, maybe you can be more flexible with things like hours, shift schedules, paid time off, appearance standards, and dress codes.

Evaluate each department separately to see where you can be flexible and where you can’t. If you’re not sure what your employees want, ask them. A simple employee survey can be very enlightening. Maybe what they really want is better coffee and a nice break room to enjoy it in.

Designing a flexible work plan

Once you’ve decided where you can and can’t be flexible, you’ll need to put a plan together that makes those things clear. Offering to be more flexible without setting specific guidelines will cause confusion for employees and frustration for you.

Consult with department managers and supervisors to nail down the details. Tell them what you’re thinking and brainstorm any issues that might arise, both with the implementation and management of the policy.

As you put your plan together, think about how offering alternative working arrangements can benefit your organization as well as your employees.

  • Could offering remote working options help your company reduce operating costs?
  • Would providing shift flexibility improve your recruitment and retention efforts?
  • Might altering your appearance and/or experience requirements open up a whole new applicant pool?

Being flexible in your processes isn’t just a way to do something nice for your employees. Being open to different ways of doing things can facilitate new opportunities for everyone involved.

Employees want flexibility, and employers want happy, healthy, and productive employees. Offering strategic alternatives to old-school, rigid workplaces can help you build a better team— and a better business.


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