Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the office. The Internet has forever changed how we work, and in turn, where and when we can work. The entire team no longer has to be physically in the office to be connected to co-workers, systems and client information.
Experts like Cali Ressler, the co-creator of Results-Only Work Environment, have based their businesses on the fact that results matter more than face time. Which would you prefer: an employee that works 9-to-5 but spends an hour on water cooler talk time, or an employee that works an unconventional schedule and puts in a solid eight hours each day?
At the end of the day, productivity is what makes a business grow. Results, not the punching of the time clock, are what really matter.
And happy, less stressed employees are more productive. The University of Minnesota is just one organization that has found flex schedules improve employees’ sleep, increase energy levels, decrease psychological distress and reduce emotional exhaustion. Employees gain a better work-life balance, which improves their attitude and outlook on their jobs.
But there’s also an upside for the employer. For one, flex hours have been shown to increase retention and can be used as a recruitment tool. Employees also don’t have to take off a day to visit the doctor or watch their kid’s spelling bee. They can incorporate it into their flexible schedule so work is still getting done.
You understand that there are many benefits to breaking free of the 9-to-5 schedule, but changing the way things operate in your office is no easy task. It may take a little extra effort in coordinating and collaborating, but in the end having happier employees is worth it. Here are 5 no-fail tips for making the shift to a flexible schedule.
Related Article: Advantages of Telecommuting
Set Parameters for Flexibility . . . With Employees
Will there be just one flex day a week? Does everyone have the same flexibility or do certain employees have a set schedule? Will employees get to work a compressed 4-day week with 10-hour days? Have discussions with your employees to decide which flexible schedule options will provide the best balance of getting things done while giving employees flexibility. Once you’ve decided on the type of flexible schedule that will be implemented, document it to set the parameters in stone.
Clearly State Goals for the Flexible Schedule Program
Goals are the linchpin for a successful flex schedule program. Now that hours aren’t the measurement for an employee, clearly defined goals and deadlines have to be established. It should be clear to employees what is expected, and how work should be handled. It’s also a great idea to set goals for the program in general that are a product of the whole.
Provide Tools and Training
All employees that are participating in the flexible work schedule program should be fully equipped to handle their tasks remotely or when they are alone in the office. It’s also best to have training sessions with each employee to go over the workflow of the flexible schedule. This is the time to clearly define the employee’s individual tasks that are expected to be done daily, weekly, etc.
Have a Backup Plan If Productivity Falters
Flexible schedules work for many companies, but it’s not a silver bullet. Some employees may perform better than expect while others have difficulty getting things done without oversight. Plan ahead by creating a backup strategy. This can include giving employees a probationary period if productivity is faltering or scaling the flexibility back. Whatever you decide, make it clear to employees how the issue will be handled.
Track Your Results
The only way to know if flexible schedules are beneficial for your business is by setting benchmarks and tracking productivity. Plan to have monthly follow-ups with each employee in the first three months after the flex schedule is put into place. This gives you time to discuss how the employee is performing and gives them the opportunity to share their feedback and suggestions.
It’s also important to gauge employee wellness, satisfaction and engagement after the flexible schedule is implemented. Other factors that can affect your bottom line include utility costs and employee retention. The more you track and measure, the easier it is to tweak the schedules for maximum return.
For additional tools and information, including a Workflex Assessment Tool, visit the Society for Human Resource Management resource section.
Author: Wade Lombard is a founding partner of Square Cow Movers based in Austin, Texas. Dedicated to service, Wade has instilled honesty, integrity, and professionalism throughout the Square Cow family. Square Cow has seen exponential growth and success under Wade’s leadership since its founding in 2007. Follow him on Twitter @wadelombard.