We all know what a standard 8-hour day looks like, right? You get to the office at 9 and leave at 5. Well, that's been the norm for many years, but what if this traditional schedule is outdated? I often wonder if many people realize we are operating off Henry Ford's 1926 labor model, has it run its course?
Companies around the world are rethinking how they schedule and allocate work. And the reason? To provide a better work-life balance for their employees. The modern flexible schedule is not a new concept, but it has gained in popularity over the last few years. From the beginning of the pandemic, many companies were forced to deploy a labor model they were not previously comfortable with. Many have since changed their policies to accommodate the needs of workers who want flexible hours or remote work.
But what exactly does that mean? And how can it benefit your company?
Let's break it down.
What does a flexible schedule mean?
A flexible working schedule is one that allows employees to determine when they work, where they work, and how long they work. It could be a mix of full-time, part-time, and telecommuting opportunities that would allow them to work from home on certain days. In some cases, employees may have the option of working a compressed schedule that allows them to do 40 hours worth of work in only 4 days (instead of the usual 5). It doesn't have to be the same for everyone. An individual employee might choose a more traditional schedule while another opts for more flexibility.
On another note, a flexible work schedule is not the same as working from home. Working from home allows employees to do their job without having to go into the office, but it doesn't give them more control over when they work or how long they work.
How can it benefit my company?
It makes work-life balance easier. Employees don't have to choose between their jobs and their personal life, because they can do both. It also makes it easier for parents to be able to spend time with their children during the day and still make sure that they get their work done at night.
It encourages employees to be more productive. When people have a sense of control over their time, they get tasks done efficiently and effectively. It also gives them time to pursue other interests which can help refresh their mind and further increase their productivity and performance.
Flexible schedules save money! Companies that allow employees to work from home or adjust their hours save on office space, utilities, and other overhead costs.
Retain top talent. Having a flexible schedule can help you keep the best employees. If you have a highly skilled employee who's considering leaving, allowing him or her to work from home may be just what it takes to keep them on your team. You'll also avoid losing other valuable employees who may decide that they need more flexibility in their lives—for example, parents with young children.
How do we make it work?
Well, that's where you come in. As a manager or business owner, you need to be ready to embrace change and adapt to the needs of your team members. Here are some tips on how to implement any type of flexible schedule or arrangements in your business:
Start by talking about it. Get your team together and discuss their views on this topic. Ask them what their needs are when it comes to work-life balance and how they would like these needs met.
Define your goals. What do you want out of this new arrangement? Do you want to reduce the amount of time employees spend commuting or increase productivity by making it easier for them to complete their work? Make sure that everyone involved understands these goals before moving forward with any changes. Remember this should be a give and take, it is a realistic expectation to see an increase in productivity from these changes. It is your responsibility as a leader to articulate what those KPIs look like, with feedback from your team!
Create a policy. Once you have decided what you want to achieve, the next step is to create a policy that explains your business’s new arrangements. This document should outline the specific details and expectations of this policy, including what kind of schedule employees are expected to adhere to as well as how they will be evaluated.
Monitor its effectiveness. Be sure to track how well this new policy is working for everyone involved so that you can make adjustments if necessary. This is a great topic to bring up at a weekly team meeting or any one-on-ones you have scheduled with your team members.
Review your policy regularly. As your business evolves, so will its needs. Make sure to review it at least once a year to see if any changes are needed or if it should be updated. This will help you manage expectations and prevent any confusion or disputes down the road.