Why is Scheduling Flexibility Important for Your Employees?
When millennials first entered the workforce, they brought a few things with them - a desire for a better work/life balance and, with it, the need for more flexible schedules. This push towards flexibility has now spread throughout the generations. It doesn’t matter what cohort your employees belong to. They almost certainly want more control over their work location and hours.
Almost 90% of US workers want to work flexibly, according to a 2022 study from McKinsey, and that demand is expected to grow as labor shortages and other economic constraints put pressure on employers to offer more.
They may be nudged into it, but flexibility shouldn’t be viewed as a compromise or a concession by employers. Studies show that flexible working arrangements make employees more productive and reduce turnover. Offering your employees more control over their schedules is very much a win-win. You reap the rewards of enhanced productivity while they craft that coveted work/life balance.
What is Flexible Working?
There are two key ingredients to flexible work - when you work, and where you work.
An alternative to the traditional 9 to 5 in the office, flexible working allows employees to better juggle their personal lives with the professional. They can attend a mid-day appointment and make up the time later, look after their kids if they’re home from school, be at home to take a delivery, and generally manage their time better. This reduces their stress and ensures that when they’re working, they’re focused on the task in front of them rather than worrying about who’s going to pick up the kids.
Being flexible as an employer means trusting your employees to meet their deadlines and put in their allotted hours without micro-managing them. It means providing them with options to work different shifts and remotely where possible.
The Benefits of Being Flexible
Managed correctly, flexibility has a host of benefits for employers.
Flexible working arrangements:
- Attract talent - job seekers cite flexibility as the third most important consideration when accepting a new job
- Make companies more competitive - in a tight job market, more companies are offering flexibility as a perk. Some HR experts estimate that those who don’t risk losing out on 70% of candidates
- Improve productivity - studies show flexible work improves employee morale and productivity as staff work more efficiently and are more focused
Reduce turnover - flexible offices tend to be more harmonious, with higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention
How to Implement Flexibility in the Office
Address Your Workplace Culture
Embracing a more flexible workspace means adopting people-centric leadership, which draws on ‘soft’ skills such as communication, empathy, and trust.
Managers will have to move from an ‘hours done’ to a ‘work done’ mindset, trusting their employees to meet their Key Performance Indicators and deliver their projects without looking over their shoulders to track their progress.
You’ll also need to set clear guidelines and policies around your working arrangements. Flexibility doesn’t mean casual, ad hoc working. Employees should know their core hours, what’s expected of them, and what steps to take if they want to revise their schedule.
Not every job can be done remotely. And even those that can will sometimes require workers to be ‘on call’ and in the office.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to flexible working. It may involve hybrid offices, a four-day workweek, remote working, or some combination of all of the above. Managers must find what’s right for their team and be prepared to compromise, giving workers space when needed and appropriate.
Communicate well in advance if you know you’ll need your team for a particular project, and give employees warning if you’re coming up to a busy period. This will help your workers better manage their time and show them that you’re taking their needs seriously.
Provide Your Team With The Right Tools
If they’re going to be in and out of the office, your team needs to be able to securely communicate and collaborate from anywhere and any device.
This may mean updating your office’s IT infrastructure to move workflows to a secure but accessible cloud platform and facilitate online project management, messaging, meeting, and more.
EPM and Flexible Working
Employee Productivity Monitoring (EPM) solutions like Prodoscore are ideal for remote or hybrid teams, helping managers monitor flexible working arrangements in real time. Prodoscore tracks how employees interact with cloud-based business applications to generate productivity scores for individuals and teams.
With these insights, leaders can better understand performance and trends over time. This allows for data-driven decision-making around your remote, hybrid, or in-office work policies. The invaluable productivity data collected and categorized by Prodoscore helps managers set clear expectations and move quickly to address what is and isn’t working.