Offering workers the opportunity to have flexible hours gives your business an edge in recruitment, staying ahead of the competition. Flexible hours tend to vary by job requirement, how your business operates in its industry and workers’ preferences and needs.
Service industries, such as retail, have schedules dependent on sales during operating hours, so flexibility is limited. In contrast, the information technology industry is more open to flexible hours as long as team members complete projects on time. So consider what works best for your business.
Among the components of offering flexibility in scheduling are:
- Allowing employees to choose where they want to work.
- Letting employees create a work schedule that works best for them, including scheduling their workday as they wish or need.
- Reducing weekly workdays — working 40 hours over four days instead of five.
- Providing alternative job schedules — working a second or third shift.
Although the thought of keeping track of different hours and employment statuses may seem challenging to manage, just counter it with how maintaining happier employees and being seen as a more desirable firm for people to work for is a definite plus.
You can still be efficient
You don’t have to lose control: You can require your employees to work certain core hours, overlapping with other team members so everyone can attend weekly team meetings or be available for clients in specific time zones.
You’ll see improved retention of valuable staff. In 2018, 80% of workers said they’d choose a job that offers a flexible schedule, while 30% of respondents said they’d even take flexible work over additional vacation time. And 35% noted they’d prioritize flexible work over having a more prestigious title or position.
In a 2019 survey, 30% of respondents left their jobs because the company didn’t offer flexible work options, while 16% said they were hunting for a new job because they wanted flexible options. Considering that the average company’s cost to recruit, hire and train new staff is around $4,000 per person, preventing your workforce from leaving is a significant cost saving in the long run. Flexible options can also help you recruit top talent.
You may still be skeptical because you like to keep an eye on your workers. But providing flexible work schedules can increase worker productivity. According to the 2019 survey above, remote employees worked 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees. Flexibility facilitates a results-oriented culture — not just checking bodies at work but concentrating on the work they’ve produced.
What about employee engagement? Employees like to feel that what they do contributes to their company’s success, and flexible hours create a workplace that empowers and respects workers. You’re saying that you trust your team. In turn, you’ll see fewer missed days of work and less turnover due to loyalty from workers when they can balance work and home.
There are multiple options
Flexible working hours mean employees can come to work earlier or later than at set business hours, work through a lunch hour or even take a much longer one but work later. Workers gain more control when they can reschedule work during times they know they can accomplish more, while you gain continuity of staff coverage by one employee when another isn’t working.
Increased employee job satisfaction and reaping the same quality and quantity of work as any other full-time employee results from implementing measurable goals and ensuring that employees and managers understand them. Employees can work around rush hours, so they avoid wasted time commuting to and from work and/or avoid traffic altogether when working from home.
You and your team may want to discuss how a lack of boundaries and less structure can affect workers who’ll need more discipline and might miss the connection and collaboration of coworkers. You may float the idea of trial schedules at first — maybe for 90 days — to assess how well the arrangement works and then see whether it’s worth continuing on a more permanent basis. By addressing these issues together, you’ll not only get a happier, more productive workforce, but you’ll also build a reputation as a personally rewarding place to work.