10 Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Workplace Flexibility
If you’re considering flexibility in the workplace for your organization, it does take a little extra effort to get things running efficiently. Use these ten do’s and don’ts to make sure your flex plans are a success.
1. Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Flexibility
The flexible workplace offers many benefits, including:
- Improved job satisfaction
- Higher morale
- Increased productivity
- Employee retention
- Better talent recruitment
- Increased energy and creativity
- Reduced absenteeism and lateness
- Less stress
- Reduced burnout
- Improved life-work balance
All these things equal happier employees.
2. Do Consider Different Approaches to Flexibility
Workplace flexibility doesn’t center on start and end times. There are many other options to include:
- Compressed workweeks: Employees can determine how they make up their 40 hours. Some might want shorter hours and to work more days while others might choose 10-hour, four-day workweeks.
- Telecommuting: Allowing employees to work from home cannot only be effective but also reduce the cost of operating a larger workspace.
- Job sharing: This is growing in popularity as more people seek life-work balance. Employees split the responsibility for the same job, with each person working part-time hours.
The key to success here is to ensure the core hours and all shifts are covered with adequate staff.
3. Don’t Overlook Common Problems
To keep things running smoothly, make sure you address problems as they arise. You’ll expect growing pains when workplace flexibility is new.
4. Do Include Employees in the Planning Stage
Flex plans do better when employees are involved in the planning. Hold a meeting, send out surveys, and ask for input to develop a flexible work plan that is worthwhile. In some cases, employees might not be keen on what you’re proposing, which can backfire. You should address the following with the team:
- Is the flexibility being proposed something that works for the type of work you do?
- Will workers remain effective?
- Will flexibility interfere with important interdepartmental relationships?
- Will the new arrangement create more work for certain individuals?
- How will it affect customer service?
The questions and discussions will be different for each organization. The important thing is that they are addressed upfront. You can then seek ongoing feedback to make sure things are working.
5. Don’t Assume Flex Hours Work for Everyone
Much like point #4, you have to consider the bigger picture and how workplace flexibility affects everyone. For flex hours to work, you have to maintain department coverage. What if everyone wants to start late or leave early? How will you maintain efficiency? What if the only person offering to come in early is not someone who can be trusted to work alone? Would a short week with longer days put too much strain on some employees? All of these things must be considered, with individual assessments made for each person’s expectations and each department’s needs.
6. Do Ensure Policies Are Equitable
In organizations with many working parts, workplace flexibility can lead to bitterness amongst departments. The plan has to be fair, or there will be resentment and poor morale. When things are not handled equitably, retention is challenged. You could even face lawsuits. To avoid these challenges, develop a written policy on workplace flexibility to ensure it is non-discriminatory and treats all positions and individuals equally.
7. Don’t Decrease Communication
It is not uncommon for workplace flexibility to lead to communication issues. This might make it necessary to hold staff meetings to keep everyone in the loop. That is important when some people are telecommuting or where someone might be working a shorter workweek.
8. Do Educate Managers on Workplace Flexibility
Managers will require some training to get into the new flex mindset. They might want to get some new systems in place to help manage things such as lateness, absenteeism, and meeting plans so that they feel they have control. It will also take some trust-building and finding new ways to track employee development needs.
9. Don’t Forget Monitoring
Setting goals and monitoring production are important for flexible work arrangements. Track key indicators such as time and attendance, performance, and productivity to make sure the system is working.
10. Do Avoid Legal Pitfalls
Workplace flexibility has introduced two new work-related lawsuits:
- The misclassification of workers as being exempt from overtime
- Workers injured at home while performing company duties
Have policies in place to ensure workers are being paid for overtime. Also, have employees that work remotely sign a document confirming their at-home work environment is safe.
Although flexibility in the workplace takes some effort upfront, it can increase job satisfaction, decrease absenteeism, and increase employee retention.
About The Author
Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.