Back in the 80s, Dolly Parton sang a little song called “9 to 5.” If you’re unfamiliar, the tune is all about the mundane nature of the clock-in, clock-out lifestyle and how it can ultimately drive you crazy. It turns out, Dolly was on to something.
Today, more and more companies are moving away from that typical 9 to 5 day and instead toward a more flexible schedule. As it stands about half of American full-time workers are currently enjoying this benefit, but who knows what that number might be in the future?
With all that said, you might be considering offering a flexible schedule to your employees. You might want to offer a change to only a handful of employees or just certain departments. Maybe you’re ready to change things up altogether! Either way, there are many reasons why you should consider granting this perk.
Are you a new business owner looking for inspiration? A seasoned veteran ready for a big change? Let’s explore all the possibilities when it comes to flexible schedules!
What is a Flexible Schedule?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, anything outside the traditional 40 hour, 9 to 5 work week is considered flexible.
This can include:
- Summer hours – Adjusting the typical schedule in the summer so your employees can soak up the sun.
- Semi-loose hours – This involves some kind of core hours for your employees to work between.
- Completely open hours – Your employees can come and go as they please, as long as they hit 40 hours per week.
- Work from home/Telecommuting – The work is done from the comfort of home, eliminating the need for a commute.
- Compressed work weeks – Employees work longer shifts 3 to 4 days per week to hit 40 hours.
- Mealtime flex – Lunch can be a little longer as employees can flex to make up for the lost time.
- Job-sharing – One position or job is split between two or more people, each of whom works part-time hours.
The main thing to remember is that “one size doesn’t fit all” when it comes to implementing a flexible schedule. Furthermore, not every industry can reasonably alter their work week. Can you imagine if doctors couldn’t treat their patients because they’re in “summer hours”?
Ultimately, you dictate what “flex” means as a company. While this is typically easier in an office environment, it can still be done in most industries if you ask yourself the right questions and know all the facts.
So – why should you switch to flex hours?
Why Should Your Business Offer Flexible Schedules?
It benefits your company to offer flexible schedules to your employees. A little wiggle room during the work day can go a long way when it comes to your success.
If it’s lucrative and reasonable for you to offer flexibility, you might want to consider the numbers when it comes to this new work flow.
It turns out, this work arrangement can mean big bucks for your bottom line. For a business, flexible schedules could mean:
- Reduced turnover
- Increased productivity
- Less absences or tardiness
- Easier recruiting
- Less overhead cost
- Better company morale
- Improved customer service
A flexible schedule means increased revenue, happier employees, and an overall positive work environment. Your company will attract great candidates that are ready to come work hard every day!
Of course, flexible schedules can also make it more difficult for you to schedule meetings and your team’s work/home life might start to blur. Make sure you speak with your employees ahead of time and come up with a strategy that works for your business needs.
Do Employees Want Flexible Schedules?
Our jobs take up a lot of our time, and it can sometimes feel like our own lives take a backseat, especially when you’re all out of vacation time. This eventually takes a toll on our mental well-being.
The 1927 classic sci-fi film, Metropolis, is all about that feeling. It tells the tale of a futuristic world where the working class are extremely unhappy due to their strict timecard. When it comes down to it, a certain schedule can make your employees feel the same way and almost as though they don’t have any freedom.
The good news is we don’t have to live in a world like Metropolis. There are many ways that flexible schedules lead to happiness.
Bottom line, nobody wants to feel unhappy, and a flexible schedule can help ease those pain points for your employees. They’ll have more time to focus on their personal health and wellness and still come through with a job well done.
How to Change to a Flexible Schedule at Your Workplace
If you’re the head honcho of a company, you probably don’t have a lot of time on your hands. Still, you’re the one with the power to create change for your business and implement a flexible schedule.
Whether you’re a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, these steps make it easy for you and fair for everyone.
#1 Evaluate Your Business Needs
Remember you’re working as a team with your employees. You want to hear everyone’s input about flexible schedules before you make any big changes! To get started, click on the button below and ask the upper management in each department to fill out the embedded form.
#2: Meet One-on-One with Your Leads
After every manager has filled out the form above, set up individual meetings with each department manager. Go over what they have written and be sure to address the following:
- What was the thought process behind the answers on their form?
- Are there any concerns you have based on their feedback?
- Do you agree or disagree with any of their thoughts on flexible scheduling?
- Will there be individual employees in their department that aren’t happy with these arrangements?
- Overall, are they on board with the idea of flexible scheduling?
Even with a name, a form can seem very anonymous and safe. Your management team’s opinions or thoughts about flexible schedules may change when they’re talking to you in person. For this reason, it’s well worth having a follow-up discussion.
#3: Talk to Your Lead Team
Next, gather everyone in upper management and your HR department for a group meeting. Discuss the possibility of flexible schedules as a team. Some topics for discussion are included in the list below.
- How are you defining “flexible schedule” as a company?
- Are you being fair to everyone in the workplace with these changes? If not, what can you do so each department is happy and the business needs are met?
- What are some potential financial and behavioral costs of changing around the schedule?
- What are the rules that you can agree on across every department?
- What will be the procedure if employees start taking advantage of this arrangement or if it reduces productivity?
Make sure you walk away from the meeting room with a clear understanding of where everyone stands. You can then use these notes to come up with a final conclusion about flexible scheduling for your company.
#4: Ask All Your Employees
A new schedule affects not only your business, but each of employee’s lives as well. The easiest way to make sure they’re happy is by asking! Let them know what your plan is for flexible scheduling and see how they feel. This could be done via one-on-one meetings or email survey if you have a large team working for your company.
The conversation will ultimately go into unexpected territory, and that’s okay! It’s better to iron everything out now and hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions before you proceed with any big changes. At the end, you can settle on what flexible scheduling means, update your handbook, and put this new work flow into action!
Which Companies Have Flexible Schedules?
When in doubt, you can always take inspiration from companies that have found success with a flexible work schedule*.
As of 2019, the following companies offer flexible work schedules:
- Johnson & Johnson
- Quality Logo Products
- General Electric
- The Motley Fool
The main thing to remember when it comes to flexible scheduling is it’s not all black and white. At the end of the day, it’s about giving your employees options. Maybe they like the consistency of a 9 to 5 work day or maybe they want to change things up once in a while.
Either way, if it doesn’t hurt productivity or your bottom line, it’s worth being open to a flexible schedule for the sake of your business and the happiness of your employees.
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