Flexible work benefits are becoming a strategic benefit for modern businesses to offer in the recruitment process. With shifting demands in family lifestyles and workforce management, the need for flexible work arrangements is becoming increasingly more important.
When companies offer flexible work benefits, employees can schedule their working hours throughout the week to what best fits their needs. This benefit is helping two-income households better accommodate family schedules and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Advanced technology is the driving force behind this change as it has now become more accessible for teams to remain in consistent communication and on track to hit their goals.
Not only is this type of workflow beneficial to families, but employers may find an improvement in their workers as well. Research shows that workers who operate on a flexible schedule are more productive, happier, and more present. Giving employees this responsibility to operate on their own schedule while trusting them to complete their work on time also helps build their decision-making abilities. Trust is an important aspect of the culture of any company.
If you’re considering adopting a flexible work policy in your company, find the following dos and don’ts when making your decision.
Do: Set a clear policy
Some restrictions still need to be enforced when it comes to flexible work. It can’t be a free for all or else chaos could ensue. Setting realistic guidelines that align with company goals while still offering employees the flexibility they desire is critical. Work with your team to outline a standardized policy that can be introduced to employees at roll out and also kept in the employee handbook for future reference. A few of the flexible work rules that you may want to include in this policy are:
- Determine the number of hours per week that employees must complete, as well as within what times these work hours should be accomplished
- Set precedents and occasions for when employees must be present in the office
- Decide if you will allocate a maximum number of hours that can be flexed throughout the workweek
- Establish strict enforcement that deadlines must still be met on time
You should also urge employees to remember the importance of creating personal life/work-life boundaries when working from home. This may include dressing appropriately when video conferencing into meetings, creating an environment that’s conducive to productivity and removing excess distractions.
Do: Leverage the right tools
When it comes to managing a workforce, particularly large ones, it’s essential to leverage the right tools. Various forms of technology exist today that helps teams stay connected virtually. However, when too many systems are in use, it can become chaotic. Choose to focus on the options that work best for your team and limit the use of too many. Using a unified communications tool to engage employees is beneficial to organizations that want to restrict team messaging and web conferencing tools to one central location.
While many forms of communication for flexible team management exist, it’s imperative to research and evaluate how many of these programs are right for your team. Employees can become easily stressed when their manager is emailing them something, while at the same time, a team member is messaging them something else, and notifications are alerting them on a third platform. Unified systems help mitigate this sense of overwhelmingness.
Don’t: Under Communicate
Though it may be important not to micromanage your team, under communicating can also cause issues amongst your team. A disengaged manager who lets their teamwork freely may appear to be uncaring. Effective communication is a critical aspect of the success of any business, yet many managers are ineffective communicators. Without clear communication, a lack of clarity, purpose and accountability may exist.
Take the time to establish clear communication guidelines. Check-in regularly with employees to see how they are progressing on their work or just how they are feeling about their job. Building a working rapport with employees is vital to gaining their trust and keeping them engaged. It’s also important that you remain transparent in your communication. Keep employees alert to ongoing organizational changes, successes and even downfalls. When employees have this information, it helps them stay focused on the bigger picture, beyond their roles and responsibilities.
Don’t: Exclude remote teams from your company culture
Remote employees who are working in various states, coasts, or even different continents are the most apt to be working on a flexible schedule. While their presence may not exist in the office physically, they must be shared in the culture as much as other employees are. Hosting them in the office on a regular cadence can be beneficial for both of you. Many of the best and most innovative ideas in a company happen through natural conversations that can only occur face-to-face. Bring them in for company retreats, holiday parties or task sprints.
It’s also important to reward these employees in the same manner as your other in-office employees are. There are many techniques you can use to recognize remote employees in a meaningful and fun way. Hosting a virtual recognition board on an online platform gives all employees the voice to shout each other out for a job well done. Consider also sending them handwritten thank-you notes, or a small token like a gift card to a coffee shop to celebrate their wins.
Don’t: Hire unmotivated remote employees
When recruiting new employees, be sure to gauge their motivation level. You may discover this through interview questions or referrals. Knowing that an employee is highly motivated is a clear indication of the work they would produce for your company. Flexible work schedules can only truly work for highly motivated employees who can make independent decisions and be productive on any schedule, regardless of distractions or interruptions that come their way.
During the recruitment process, you’ll want to make sure the employee is applying for the right reasons. Someone who is applying to the job only to receive a paycheck and check out at the end of the day or who may be using this role as a stepping stone is a red flag. This applicant is not indicative of someone who will match the passion and energy of your company. You can’t train passion. Look for someone who wants to be there to celebrate the milestones as the company achieves them.
When it comes to flexible work arrangements, you will need to be patient and amendable during the adjustment period. It may not all be smooth sailing at first, but as long as you’re hiring the right people, the situation will get better over time. Reach out to trusted leaders in your industry and see how they have shaped their policies and what advice they may have to share with you. After you’ve conducted your research and implemented the policy, run a test period. After this period is over, gather feedback from participating employees. This will help you gauge how well the policy is working for your employees and your company.
This blog article is written by a third party and does not necessarily represent EPIC’s viewpoint.
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