Flexible work arrangements: are they right for your workplace?

Flexible work arrangements: Are they right for your workplace?

Today, more people are looking for flexible work arrangements to achieve a better balance between their professional and personal lives. Technological advancements have also made remote work more accessible than it's ever been in the past.

If you're thinking about allowing your employees to have flexible work arrangements, you may wonder about the benefits and drawbacks of this plan. Before you decide to implement a new schedule that encourages flexible work hours, it's a good idea to explore some of the available options. Here's what you should know before implementing a new policy:

The benefits of flexible work arrangements

You may be surprised to find that flexible working arrangements offer benefits to both employees and employers. In fact, you may notice a difference quickly. You can even use your flexible arrangements to attract new hires during a labor shortage.

Here are just a few of the benefits you may see when you make schedule changes for your employees:

Improved productivity

You may be surprised to learn that a flexible schedule allows workers to be more productive rather than less. This is because they have the option to work when they feel most productive, whether it's early in the morning or even in the evening. Additionally, you may see a decrease in absenteeism and tardiness.

"Providing flexibility also shows your employees that you respect their lives outside of work."

Better work-life balance 

If you'd like to help your employees meet their personal obligations and life responsibilities in addition to completing work tasks, a flexible arrangement is beneficial. Flexible work schedules make people feel less stressed or anxious, and they can foster strong family relationships. Providing flexibility also shows your employees that you respect their lives outside of work.

Freedom of choice

For many workers, having a flexible schedule is a major benefit. They feel empowered when they have the freedom to choose their working hours. As a result, employees may have higher morale and feel more satisfied with their jobs. In addition, flexible schedules can improve the company culture, so issues such as burnout become less common.

The disadvantages of flexible work arrangements

Of course, flexible work arrangements may not be the best choice for every workplace. You may find that there are some drawbacks to consider or work around if you do choose to allow workers to have scheduling flexibility.

Potential communication problems

In some cases, you may find it difficult to maintain good communication with your team if they're not all at the office at the same time. Some managers meet this challenge with daily video calls or email check-ins. Technology has made resolving communication issues much easier.

Workplace isolation or loneliness

Those who telecommute or work remotely may experience a sense of isolation, as if they aren't part of the team. To tackle this issue, it's important to find ways to include all team members in meetings and events so that those who take advantage of flexible scheduling still feel a close connection with the workplace.

Types of flexible work arrangements to consider

If you're looking for ways to make a difference at work, you may want to consider a few different work arrangements. You can even offer several different schedule options for workers to choose from. Here are just a few options that some workplaces are using to allow flexibility in scheduling:

Hybrid work schedules

Hybrid work comes in many forms. In some cases, it calls for certain staff to work on-site while others work remotely. Hybrid schedules may also allow employees to switch between office and remote work based on their own preferences. This arrangement works best when you don't need everybody working at the same time or if you have long-term deadlines rather than short-term goals.

Many people find that this hybrid schedule is ideal because it allows them to work when and where they are most productive. For example, some people may prefer to focus on detail-oriented tasks without the distractions of an office setting, while others may be more productive when they can communicate with others throughout their days. It means that you may see an increase not only in productivity but also in workforce happiness.

Part-time work schedules

Some employees may prefer to work part-time rather than full-time. You may find that some people are more productive in 20 hours per week than in 30 to 40 hours, and they can work while also taking care of other responsibilities at home. Part-time work schedules are especially beneficial for roles where you struggle to find full-time staff 

You can also combine part-time work schedules with job sharing, which uses two people to fill the same role on a part-time basis rather than one full-time employee. This schedule allows each worker to have the days or hours off that they need without sacrificing productivity. You may also find this schedule helpful if each person has unique skills and strengths.

Telecommuting and remote work schedules

People who telecommute or work remotely don't come to the office on a regular basis. They may work from home or a public place, such as a coworking station or coffee shop. If you allow your employees to operate remotely, you may be more likely to see improved morale and reduced absences. Your staff will be able to work from anywhere with Wi-Fi, which means they are less limited by factors such as travel, illness, and caregiving.

Another benefit of remote work is that you can recruit talent from anywhere in the world. You can make your hiring search more competitive by opening the position to remote workers. If you've been looking for new ways to attract high-quality applicants to a particular role, you may find that this is an effective option to recruit individuals with unique skill sets.

Flex work schedules

If you allow flex work, you essentially let your staff determine when they begin and end their workdays. For instance, you may require that employees work eight hours each day in the office, but they have the option to choose when they complete those hours. For example, they may choose to start their workday after lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

This can be a beneficial option for those with family or school obligations. As each person's family situation is unique, a flex work schedule can help them improve their work-life balance and be present at events they may not have been able to attend in the past. It can also help people who commute to work by allowing them to have more options for public transportation or avoid heavy traffic during peak travel times.

Compressed workweek schedules

When you allow employees to have a compressed workweek, you let them complete their full-time hours in fewer than five days. As a result, they have longer workdays and more days off. For example, they may work 10-hour days to enjoy a three-day weekend or take a day off midweek.

As technology improves and people begin to prioritize work-life balance, flexible schedules are becoming increasingly important. Whether you allow workers to telecommute or to come in later on certain days, you are showing them that their happiness is a priority. Best of all, you may not have to sacrifice productivity.

Related reading: Hiring and retaining happy workers

Are you unsure if any of these flexible schedules will work for you? Check out these alternative work schedules to learn more.

Do you want to use other techniques to attract applicants? These tactics help you find high-quality workers.

What do applicants want in a new job? A flexible work culture is a great perk.

Employee burnout is a big problem. Could a flexible schedule help you avoid it?

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