It is no secret that flexible schedules in the workplace and other types of flex-work have gained tremendous popularity in the last few years. Not only do flexible schedules have significant cost savings for employers who offer them, but studies have shown that employees are more likely to be engaged, as well as have fewer sick calls and less occurrences of tardiness.
Less time spent in the office can also lead to the sharing of communal work-spaces, meaning less costly office space to rent and less office equipment and furniture to purchase.
But what are the challenges of managing flexible schedules that we can learn from? Here’s what we’ve learned not only from personal experience with our own workforce here at Celayix, but from our hundreds of customers all with unique workforces in the security, home health care, events, non-profit, retail, and hospitality industry
1. Evaluate Your Communication Tools
One of the most important issues you will face when implementing flexible schedules in the workplace is how best to communicate with employees who do not come into work everyday? Email and phone contact is of course essential, but there is still value in face-time. Skype, is increasingly becoming a common business tool, and is a favorite of ours here at Celayix. It provides free and easy access that can save money on long distance and conferencing charges. Being able to touch base via a video conference tends to have more of an impact and bridge the distance between employees working from home
2. Beware of Burnout
One of the main reasons for offering flexible schedules in the workplace is to avoid burnout of our organizations talent pool. However it is common to have some employees not only increasing their productivity, but the hours they spend on projects. The typical 9-5 at the office can easily become all-nighters, if employees become engrossed in their work. Burnout can be avoided by regular check-ins or meetings throughout the week, and setting reasonable goals and deadlines.
3. Start Flexible Schedules in the Workplace Slowly
Don’t over commit yourself and end up souring a good relationship with your employees. Most companies start by offering flexible schedules as a trial period with sound evaluation on both the managers and the employee’s parts. What may work best is offering flexible start and end times or workdays worked, or perhaps just one or two days of flextime per week.
When evaluating requests for flextime take into consideration your current corporate culture. Making changes to where and when work is performed and your level of flexibility may not just impact the worker and manager, but the organization as a whole.