Flexible work arrangements make a big difference in the personal and professional lives of employees. Here’s how to choose what’s right for your company.
In a recent survey, respondents ranked work-life balance and flexibility as their #2 and #3 priorities (respectively) of what they want out of work.¹ This data signals the high demand for flexible work arrangements.
There are many types of flexible work arrangements. Choosing the right ones can make a big difference in your workplace. Whether you’re a manager, employee, or jobseeker, it’s important to know the differences between the various types of flex arrangements.
Every working arrangement won’t necessarily fit every role. Some might attract different employees or apply better to different job descriptions. Regardless of which ones you implement, each policy can help create an idea of what behavior is expected and encouraged.
How important are flexible work arrangements?
Very. A flexible work arrangement may be one of an employee’s favorite job benefits. It also helps forge a company culture built on trust and respect.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of flexible work is the understanding behind it. Flexible schedules leave room for life to happen. Need to take 2 days off for a minor medical procedure? Let your bosses know, and do it! Employees who don’t have to fear for their jobs over 1 or 2 sick days are likely to be more satisfied, productive, and efficient.
Flexible work arrangements to try in your office
Implementing flexible work options will be valuable for creating a positive work environment, reducing company turnover, and increasing job satisfaction. Let’s look at 7 such arrangements.
Telecommuting refers to a job that’s performed remotely only part of the time. It can be a full-time position. And since telecommuting usually means employees come into the physical workplace consistently, staff in these roles usually live locally.
According to Gallup, the telecommuting schedule that offers the most productivity is that by which an employee comes into the office 2-3 days per 5-day work week. Telecommuting can be implemented with nearly any position that doesn’t require the worker to be in-office all the time. But managers still prefer a person who lives locally and can quickly get to the office if necessary.
2. Remote working
Remote work is different from telecommuting. It’s entirely performed away from the office. And it can be on a temporary or permanent basis (such as with an employee traveling on business). Since remote workers don’t have to come into the office at all, they can live and work almost anywhere worldwide.
Remote work arrangements are a good option for businesses looking to broaden their applicant pool and for job descriptions that don’t require in-person work. Self-motivation, video conferencing and other technology, and consistent communication help team members successfully work remotely.
3. A compressed work week
As an employer, you may want to maintain a 40-hour work week. However, you can be flexible on where and when those hours are spent. A condensed work week may mean employees start earlier, stay later, and are then off for 3 days vs. 2.
For many employees, a flexible schedule is the ultimate perk. In addition, businesses can also lower overhead with a 3-day weekend. But it may be difficult to implement for an entire organization.
Testing this schedule with long-term, experienced employees before offering it may help determine if it’s the right choice.
4. Customized work schedule
Allowing workers to choose their own work hours (within reason) is a great perk and can cost an organization nothing. Individual circumstances may make early morning work more conducive for some employees, while others may prefer to work late. A tailored working arrangement affords employees greater work-life balance and fosters well-being. Letting workers choose their hours within an approved window (e.g., 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.) is a popular and relatively simple system.
5. Part-time arrangement
Not every position warrants full-time work. Offering part-time positions can help increase productivity.
Sometimes employers won’t offer part-time workers an employee benefits package. Offering part-time employee benefits like healthcare, retirement, and vacation days helps keep and attract the high-quality employees. Providing benefits for part-time workers can also keep a company competitive among employers, increase job satisfaction, and decrease costly employee turnover.
6. Job sharing
Job sharing is a flexible working arrangement similar to part-time work. The system consists of 2 or more part-time workers sharing the responsibilities of a full-time job.
A part-time job may appeal to the employees for various reasons. Ongoing personal family needs are common reasons for wanting reduced hours. The employer benefits from the equivalent of full-time work without offering costly benefits. However, managers must supervise more than 1 person for a single job. Implementation requires negotiation with each worker.
7. Flexible vacation time
More businesses than ever are chucking a set number of vacation days and offering unlimited paid time off. The company PTO policy can be inclusive of its vacation policy. Of course, any PTO policy comes with plenty of requirements. For example, there must be open communication about the time off, and peak workload hours or times of year may be off limits. Employers must be clear about their expectations, and employees need to know what they should be doing.
There are numerous considerations when implementing a flexible work schedule and working with remote employees. Typically, successfully implementing a flex time arrangement requires a performance-driven work culture. Furthermore, flexibility requires practice, patience, and a little trial and error.
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