While most organizations have increased flexible scheduling during COVID-19 to accommodate their employees, many HR leaders are wondering if that flexibility should continue beyond quarantine.
Creating a flexible workplace goes beyond establishing post-COVID work from home policies. Flexible work hours aren’t necessarily a fit for every organization. Here’s what to consider when determining if your company should try flexible scheduling.
Flexible scheduling lures top talent
Previous to COVID-19, one-third of workers changed jobs to gain more flexibility. With home and work life now blending even further, that need for flexibility is only growing. Plus, experts have repeatedly identified the possibility of alternative work schedules as a top motivator in making career decisions.
Flexible work hours reduce turnover
Employees already benefitting from flexible scheduling report increased motivation and productivity, as well as higher overall job satisfaction. Even better – those who benefit from flexible schedules often go above and beyond to create a positive environment for co-workers.
Curious how your company stacks up? Cangrade’s Job Engagement Tracker can help.
But will flexible scheduling work for my company?
That depends. Before implementing a flexible working policy, it’s important to consider the kinds of work your employees are doing, how they do it, and individual personality traits. A successful policy focuses on corporate culture and job function when deciding which options to offer employees.
Ask yourself these questions:
What’s my corporate culture?
Companies that rely heavily on teamwork for innovation might need more facetime from their employees to encourage idea exchange. Yahoo! famously banned remote work on the grounds that good ideas come from spontaneous interactions between co-workers.
Research also shows that flexible and remote work arrangements work best when employees experience a high degree of trust and receive consistent communication from managers. So take the time to assess whether your decision-makers are onboard and provide learning opportunities about the benefits of flexibility for employees.
What kind of work are we doing?
Jobs that require extensive client or customer interaction or coordination across functions may not be good candidates for non-standard working hours. An Operations role that interfaces with teams in Supply Chain, Human Resources, and Finance, for example, probably isn’t a good fit.
But be careful. Some roles that might look tailor-made for flexible work, such as IT Support or Graphic Design, may actually demand substantial real-time collaboration or significant physical presence. ‘Traditional’ jobs in fields like law and accounting, however, are surprisingly adaptable.
Who thrives with a flexible schedule?
Self-motivated extroverts with great time-management make the best remote and flexible workers. As ‘people’ people, they enjoy collaboration and gain energy from interaction, making them more likely to engage with co-workers on different schedules. They’re also less susceptible to isolation, a common productivity-killer for those who work remotely or outside standard hours. Strong inner drive leads these employees to set and meet their own goals for productivity, while well-developed organizational skills mean they plan proactively for unexpected contingencies.
Employees who prefer a high degree of structure, on the other hand, or who become anxious outside of a clear hierarchy, might find alternative arrangements difficult. Flexible scheduling requires a high tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances in real-time. Those who function best in a predictable environment might require additional infrastructure to remain productive. Introverts may lose important connections without the natural interaction of standard office hours.
Given the right support, however, almost any employee can benefit from a flexible schedule.
Employees love flexible schedules and successful companies offer it, but an effective flexible working policy requires analysis.