Even before the COVID pandemic revolutionized the way people work and communicate, quite a few companies were warming up to flexible working ideas. This is because both employers and employees had much to benefit from this. For instance, if employees find better work-life balance through flexible scheduling, they will take less leaves. Plus, the lack of stringent hours and micromanaging will encourage them to be more productive and make them more satisfied. However, many organizations are still skeptic about moving away from the conventional 9 to 5 work model, as they feel that not enough will get done. Some managers worry about not being able to monitor their employees closely.
Hence, the trick is to find a middle path, so that flexible work benefits both employers and employees. And, as an employer, you can start off by following these dos and don’ts.
1. Ease into it gradually – If you are new to a flexible schedule, start slow. Maybe, Fridays can be flexible in the beginning, and then you can try it for other days. Based on where your employees are located, you can set a few core hours (the rest of the day can be flexible) when they need to be working. These core hours can decrease over time, if more flexibility is possible. But, make sure everyone is on time for important meetings.
2. Be open with your employees – Everyone will take some time to get used to the flexible schedule, and hence, productivity might not be the most from the very beginning. So, talk to your teams and individual employees and establish metrics that will define their accomplishments. They should understand that they will be held responsible for sub-par output. However, give them the flexibility to decide how they can get better.
3. Appreciate achievements – Flexible work hours and productivity are directly related mainly because an employee gets the freedom to channel his focus and energy at the best times and can still spend more time with loved ones. However, recognizing achievements can become a little challenging in this case, as he or she is not sitting a few feet away from you, from 9 to 5. So, make an extra effort to appreciate any achievement and let others know, so that everyone can be productive yet flexible.
1. Reprimand employees for being slightly late – If you have set a few hours of core time in the office, and en employee is a couple of minutes late, avoid disciplining him or creating a fuss. This can negatively impact the flexible culture you are trying to embrace. Just be alert if this is a regular occurrence.
2. Exclude certain teams from the flexible schedule, without enough reason – You might have certain departments of teams that absolutely need to work during fixed hours. However, try and infuse some flexibility by allowing some team members to work remotely on a rotational basis. And if there is no way to establish a flexible work schedule, think of other incentives to reduce any feelings of animosity or complaints. You can also avail team management consulting services to get more guidance about how to avoid the pitfalls of a flexible schedule.
To wrap up, introducing a flexible work schedule in your company can earn you many brownie points and help retain the best employees. They will be less stressed, can avoid commuting during rush hours, and will be able to take care of seniors or children at home if their situation so requires. All you have to do is establish a transparent and regular communication system, clearly state the productivity or performance metrics, and review your employees periodically to see if they are putting in their best despite the flexible hours.