Since the pandemic forced many employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate changing conditions, the 9-to-5 workday has become a thing of the past. These days, employees are looking for jobs that offer alternative work schedules that better meet their needs and lifestyles. While employers may still want employees to put in a 40-hour workweek, they should consider finding alternate plans to attract top talent. You can still achieve company goals even if people are working on their terms. Let's examine what an alternative schedule looks like and some of the different programs you can consider.
What is an alternative work schedule?
An alternative work schedule is one where employees work outside a company's core hours, such as the standard eight-hour workday. For example, if your organization has normal operating hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., these are your core hours. So, if an employee regularly completes tasks or works on projects outside these hours, it's considered an alternative work schedule. Alternative work schedules allow your employees to have the flexibility they need to balance their personal and professional lives. Many employers are embracing new types of work schedules, so maybe you should too.
Types of alternative work schedules
There isn't one type of alternative schedule that works for everyone. Your organization may only want to offer one kind of flexible work schedule, but adapting to the needs of your staff can help your company be more productive and retain your best employees. Here are some different types of alternative work schedules you may want to offer your team members:
A job share schedule would allow two employees to share the same position. If you have two employees who can work it out to cover a full shift between them, you can allow them to share a single role. Perhaps they work eight hours on alternating days, or maybe they each put in four hours a day. Regardless, you'll get the same work done and help your employees maintain a schedule that works for them.
Flex time is a flexible work schedule that allows employees to adjust their hours to better align with their needs. This type of schedule may require employees to work during some of your company's core hours while still having the flexibility to work outside core hours when needed. This means employees can make doctor's appointments or attend a child's school or sporting events during core hours without having to ask for time off. Employees appreciate this type of freedom in their work schedules.
Remote work has become something many candidates want. The freedom to work from home eliminates the need to suffer through a long commute or eat out regularly. Some companies allow employees to work from home part time and only come to the office a few times a week or month. Other positions have gone fully remote. If your company can offer remote work, it's a good way to attract high-quality employees.
A random schedule is when an employee works at different times each day or week. For example, if an employee works four hours one day and six hours the next or works a 40-hour workweek one week and only puts in 26 hours the next, it's a random schedule. This type of schedule can work well for companies that experience higher volumes of work at certain times. Some employees may appreciate getting decreased levels of work after a period of heavy work.
"Alternative work schedules allow your employees to have the flexibility they need to balance their personal and professional lives."
Freelancers like to make their own schedules. Many choose when to work and what they want to work on. Using freelancers as part of your workforce can give you access to a larger pool of talent. These individuals are often accustomed to working on a deadline and without much supervision, so they can be an asset to your team. If you want to work with freelancers regularly, it's beneficial to provide them with steady work they can get done during hours that suit them.
A compressed work schedule is when employees work full-time hours but do it in fewer days. This means that you require 40 hours a week, but the employee could complete those 40 hours in just three 12-hour shifts or four 10-hour shifts. You could also have a compressed workday, where each employee works fewer than eight hours, but they're still considered full time. These schedules are usually for all employees at your company.
Your company could offer a results-only work environment. With this schedule, you would allow your employees to work whenever it suits them as long as they're showing results. If you adopt this type of schedule, it's important to be clear about your expectations. Your employees need to know how much you want them to achieve each day or week to avoid confusion.
Benefits of alternative work schedules
Providing alternative work schedules to your employees comes with the following benefits:
- Can increase productivity
- Can prevent employee turnover
- Can improve employee morale
- Can boost a company's reputation
- Can help a company attract the best talent
Offering your employees a more flexible or alternative schedule can show them you understand they have needs outside of work. If you demonstrate that you care about your employees, it can help your company reduce turnover and gain a positive reputation.
Discover more about what employees are looking for in an employer:
Find out why employees get a second job or a side hustle and what it means for employers.
Could your company benefit by eliminating a degree requirement?
Learn what you need to know about pay transparency for your workforce.