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The benefits of flexible work schedules and how to manage them

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Traffic patterns, school schedules, family obligations, and doctor’s appointments can all break the 9 to 5 weekday routine. In today’s workforce, employees want the freedom to choose when, where, and how they work to manage life’s demands. There’s greater emphasis on work-life balanceand the best organizations shouldn’t sacrifice one or the other.

Though some employers are cautious about shifting more control to employees, studies prove that flexible working conditions reap positive results in productivity, satisfaction, and retention.

In fact, a study from the American Sociological Association shows that workers at a Fortune 500 company who participated in a flexible work program reported higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout. In another study, 98 percent of managers saw no negative drawbacks from implementing flexible work schedules.

Whether it’s flextime, compressed workweeks, part-time schedules, or job-sharing, embracing a new way of working can benefit organizations and employees in the long run.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of flexible work schedules, and how HR managers can manage them:

Benefits of flexible work arrangements

Boost workplace productivity

Supporting a flexible work culture gives employees the accountability, empowerment, and reassurance to focus on results rather than attendance. A Citrix study found flexible work environments increased productivity by 50 percent when job policies aligned better with employees’ work styles and values.

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Enhance employee morale and satisfaction

Flexible work arrangements allow employees to enjoy a healthy work-life balance by giving them control over their schedules. Research shows employees are more engaged, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs when they’re happier and more fulfilled in both their career and personal lives.

Assist recruiting efforts

Offering flexible working options is one of the most effective recruiting tools to attract the best and the brightest across generations. Mature workforces require flextime or part-time options to meet different health or personal needs. Millennials want to work for companies who put their personal well-being and work-life balance as a priority. In fact, 40 percent of office professionals would turn down a job opportunity if the company didn’t provide a flexible work environment. Capitalizing on flexible work practices can help employers stay competitive in a candidate-driven job market.

Cut overhead costs (and carbon footprint!)

Remote work arrangements can shrink office real estate and carbon emissions when employees choose to work from home or in a shared office space. Reducing the need for infrastructure will lower your company’s overhead and transportation costs.

Global workspaces are also shifting from traditional cubicles to communal spaces. This reduces the creation of office buildings and pollution (a win-win for the ecosystem and companies).

How to manage flexible schedules with your employees

Establish guidelines

It takes a solid foundation of managing expectations, tools, and processes for flexible work arrangements to work. To start:

  • consider the pros and cons of various flexible work options,
  • establish a clear process for how work is performed and measured,
  • and define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Managing creative work options can be different for each company. To avoid confusion and streamline policies, make sure to document and circulate the terms and conditions across the entire organization.

Encourage consistent communication

Communication plays a key role in flexible work arrangements. It’s important to set expectations for how work is organized and performed through ongoing communication.

Use collaboration platforms like Trello, Slack, or Skype to stay connected with employees away from the office. Additionally, regular daily check-ins with employees can help managers track progress and share knowledge without face-to-face interaction.

Maintain legal compliance

Labor laws come into play too. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employees to meet certain criteria to be exempt from overtime. It’s the employer’s responsibility to inform workers if they are or aren’t eligible for overtime.  Avoid unpaid overtime violations by making sure your timekeeping process is clear, published, and acknowledged by employees.

Track, assess, and update flexible work arrangements

Starting a new plan or adjusting to flexible programs can be intimidating and stressful. Consider using trial phases to ease management and workers into the transition. Implement a pilot program for the first three or six months, then iterate after reviewing the data. Whether it’s a department or an individual employee, rolling out a plan in phases helps you plan proactively for all possible circumstances.

Find the best solution for flexible work cases

Offering flexible work options not only rewards a happy and productive workforceit makes good business sense. The demand for flexible work is only going to increase in the years to come.

To get the most out of a flexible schedule, managers should use an all-in-one HCM solution to manage the evolving needs of the workforce. From performance evaluation and compliance management to cloud-based reporting and workflows, leveraging Fuse’s software will help your organization grow and forge continued success in the future.

Fuse Workforce HCM System