Workplace flexibility pertains to the strategies on how to get the work done and how a business organizes workers and work flow. Flexibility is essential to the effectiveness of any workplace and companies utilize it to maintain or improve their employee engagement and retention as well as to manage workloads. Research shows that flexible work options boost productivity, enhance efficiency, and drive business results.
Compressed work week
There are many ways to implement flexibility in the workplace. For instance, a company can provide flexible work options, where employees are given the freedom to choose starting and quitting times so long as they fulfill a pre-determined number of work hours in a week and their work schedule is still within the company's core-operating hours. Another variation this is the reduced work week set up. In this arrangement, employees can work their allotted hours per week in a span of four days (10 hours a day). In other companies, alternative work schedules can include adding an hour to the regular work hours rendered from Monday to Thursday so that workers can get off early on Fridays. Other flextime options may include working part-time and job- sharing.
In this arrangement, two (or more) people “share” the same position and function, each of working part-time during certain periods of the week or month. Many employers now implement job sharing because it allows them to tap into wider ranges of complementary skills and experiences within the one job function. Employers are also able to attract highly qualified staff who are unable to work full-time.
Working from home
Another way to implement workplace flexibility is by devising telecommuting programs for employees whose work can still be accomplished out of the normal office setting. To cut down the overhead costs, many businesses now allow their employees to work from home. Flex time telecommuting allows workers to spend more time with their families because they get to bring their work home where they can easily supervise their children at the same time. Another benefit of telecommuting is that workers are able to cut down the costs of commuting to and from work from their daily budgets.
Here are five success strategies that you can adopt.
- To implement organizational flexibility, it's important to start by identifying the functions that will benefit or suit flexible work schedules. Devise policies and quality of service metrics to gauge the effectiveness of working arrangements and create guidelines on how to amend work options so they can be improved. Before fully implementing certain arrangements such as telecommuting or job sharing, you might also want to test it on a pilot group first.
- Training is important for virtual workers and their managers. Implementing workplace flexibility will require a different approach as compared to having a normal work schedule for everyone and having all your employees working from the same offices. Employees have to learn how to troubleshoot basic networking issues or solve certain problems to make them more self-sufficient and ready to work on their own. Supervisors, on the other hand, have to be trained in managing people working from different locations.
- One benefit of telecommuting is having happy, productive employees who happen to work outside of the corporate offices. To help employees set up for telecommuting, it's important to equip the company with a system for creating a virtual workspace that is secured. Make sure that all tools needed in the virtual work area are properly maintained so the flow of production is not compromised even when there is no one around in the office.
- One of the many success strategies for promoting flexibility in the workplace include asking your employees what they think about the flexible work options. It's important to make sure that everyone is informed about the work arrangements. You might want to factor in their opinions about the implementation of the program to ensure that they are also amenable to the changes.
- Take note of success stories. Evaluate the success of the program regularly and highlight success stories on the workplace flexibility through your online newsletter or office bulletin boards. This will encourage more employees to warm up to the idea of alternative working arrangements.