How Can Companies Implement Flexible Work Options?

It’s not just employees that benefit from workplace flexibility.

Studies show that in areas of company profitability and employee satisfaction, employers are just as likely to improve. Flexible staffing, which gives employees more control over when, where and how long they work through options like flextime, compressed work weeks, telecommuting and job sharing, is all it’s cracked up to be. It is a crucial workforce strategy when it comes to retaining mid- to executive-level professionals—predominantly women, but men as well in growing numbers

Here are some ideas for implementing flexible work options within a company of any size:

  • Ask employees their opinion—you will likely find they aren’t asking for much. Learn what works best for them to accomplish their work goals. Before the HR team launches into full program development, provide a forum for your teams to discuss and offer suggestions based on their needs and those required of the jobs they do. Lead the dialogue with questions about maintaining high productivity levels, challenges they face with work/life balance, and the best way to work as a team.
  • Define regular office hours for both in the office and off site. For off-site days, identify when each team member is available by phone or email. Utilize online calendars to schedule meetings to alleviate some of the back-and-forth. Set core hours when all staff works at the office for a set amount of time on a specific day. This can alleviate some anxiety around flextime for managers who know they can plan around those times to physically see their team.
  • Review company compensation models and policies to reflect flexible work options and ensure that employees who participate are not unfairly and inadvertently penalized. Adjust evaluations and performance critiques to acknowledge part-time, job share or telecommuting schedules so that these practices do not negatively affect an employee’s career trajectory.
  • Don’t just offer the program to employees … encourage it. When you are talking about a culture or mindset shift, no one wants to be the first person taking the leap. Feature employee flex work success stories on internal communications channels. Senior leadership and managers need to participate in some capacity whether they have a need for it or not. It demonstrates that there won’t be an unspoken consequence (or “scarlet F”) associated with those taking advantage of the program.
  • Have a back-up plan in place. Consider adding a contingent, or contract, labor policy to your flexible work plan with pre-approved partners. This provides employees as well as the organization ground cover should special projects, temporary leaves and last-minute absences occur. Companies such as Mom Corps can find specialized professionals, often the next day, so employees maintain their flex schedules and companies continue to see productivity.
  • Promote flexible work programs externally as well as internally. Apply for “best places to work” and “top family-friendly companies” distinctions offered by media outlets and professional organizations across the country. Top professionals are placing these organizations at the head of their target list of employers. Your company’s reputation will precede you as you look to fill your leadership ranks.

This is an excerpt from a compelling article by Corps Team CEO, Allison O’Kelly.  

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