Flexible work arrangements are in high demand in every industry. They allow employees to better manage their work-life balance. When properly implemented, they also improve morale and productivity. However, just because you offer your employees greater flexibility does not mean it will benefit your company. You need to carefully balance the needs of the business and the needs of your employees. Here are five factors you need to consider when getting ready to deploy flexible work arrangement options.
Flexible work arrangements are not a one-size fits all solution. There are many different alternatives you can offer employees. Some may be a great fit for your organization; others may not work because of the specific needs of your company and industry.
The most common types of flexible work arrangements include:
- Working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days
- Altering start of the workday either later or earlier
- Combinations of all of the above
Not every possible type of flexible work arrangement will work for every business. You need to carefully review what the actual requirements of each job are before you decide what type of flexibility is appropriate.
Most likely you will not want to, or be able to, offer flexible work arrangements to every employee. However, you will want to make sure that you are being fair when you decide who to will qualify for flexible work arrangements. If it looks like only the “favorites” are being offered this new flexibility it can harm office morale and sabotage the usefulness of flexible work. Even worse, if you disproportionately exclude employees of protected classes, you can create liability for a discrimination lawsuit.
Often employers worry that offering greater flexibility in work arrangements will make it harder to supervise employees. However, if you make the conditions of a flexible work schedule too strict your company will not reap the full productivity and morale boosts. Instead you may create resentment and friction between management and the employees.
If you do not feel confident in your employee’s ability to work independently and with little direct supervision, flexible work arrangements may not be a good choice for your organization.
When you first deploy flexible work arrangements it will be an experiment. You need to be clear about how you will evaluate the results of that experiment. Are you going to be looking at specific metrics that relate to productivity? If the program is a success, will you expand it?
If the program does not work, will you roll it back?
Simply relying on a “gut-feeling” will not help your company get the most out of its employees. You need to have a plan to collect and analyze data related to the flexible work arrangement program.
What happens if the program is a success, except for a handful of employees? What is the process you will use to help these employees be more productive? Will you work on changing their flexibility? Will you terminate their ability to work an alternate schedule?
You will need to make sure that employees fully understand the expectations and the consequences of failing to meet those expectations before deploying a flexible work arrangement.
One way to lower these administrative costs and ensure compliance is to hire a Professional Employment Organization (PEO). A PEO can help you find the right level of benefits for your company, including helping you evaluate different health insurance options. The PEO can also handle employee enrollment, payroll deductions, and all the other paperwork and administrative duties that go along with benefits like health insurance and retirement.