Is your company making the most of flexible scheduling?

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By Kat Cunningham

The traditional 9-to-5 job is on life support. Today, more than 80 percent of companies offer flexible work options, according to a 2015 study. Nearly 60 percent of American workers called the 9-to-5 job “a thing of the past” in a 2016 survey.

The demise of the traditional workday comes as employers have embraced flexibility in setting work schedules.

These flex time arrangements come in all types. For starters, many companies allow workers some latitude in determining when their shifts start and stop. Other businesses go further and allow staff members to spend part of their time working from home. Some even allow workers to compress their workweek into three or four days.

katcunningham

Kat Cunningham, president of Moresource Inc.

It’s no secret why these arrangements have become so popular. They offer a low-cost (in many cases no-cost) way for companies to provide an employee benefit that staff members truly value. It’s a powerful tool that helps employees manage work-life balance without any sacrifice to the work side of the equation.

If your company doesn’t offer flex time yet, it’s passed time to take a look at this benefit.

More likely, your company already offers some flexility in scheduling and has been doing so for many years — my own company has been offering this benefit since we opened in 1994. If you haven’t lately, it’s worth taking a look at your own policies and practices and ensuring your company is making the most of this benefit. Here are some places to start:

  • Brag about it. Do you list flex time as an employee benefit in your recruitment materials? Nearly half of companies fail to tout their flexible scheduling arrangements. This is a big omission. Flexibility is highly prized by today’s workers and your company should be marketing this benefit.
  • Measure it. Many companies implement flexible time arrangements without stopping to consider how this change can fundamentally alter how they monitor and measure employee performance. In the old days, good performance started with showing up on time and not goofing off during the day. But in flex workplaces, it’s much more logical to place an emphasis on measuring the results a worker produces versus monitoring the minutia of how they spend their day. It’s worth making sure your performance measures still work in a the post 9-to-5 world.
  • Update it. One big misunderstanding about flex time is that it requires employers change a job to help it fit into an employee’s life. In reality, each job has a certain amount of inherent flexibility — some jobs have much more than others — no matter who is currently serving in the position. As jobs and duties evolve, the amount of flexibility changes as well. It’s worth evaluating whether the flexibility you give employees still fits the jobs they are doing. If it doesn’t, it needs to be updated.
  • Write it down. One 2015 study found that fewer than 40 percent of businesses had formal flex time policies. That’s a dangerous situation, at it means that most companies are offering a benefit without official, written instructions about how it should be managed. This places lots of stress on supervisors and managers who are tasked with keeping things fair and productive. It’s best for everyone if there is an official policy guiding this benefit.

Kat Cunningham is president of Moresource Inc. Contact Moresource at 573-443-1234.

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