The year 2020 was replete in firsts within many categories, such as telecommuting, job sharing or working from home environments. However, a great number of businesses are finding that their employees enjoy the flexibility of job sharing and/or working from home or telecommuting and want to keep utilizing that unique working arrangement. Many businesses are open to incorporating a flexible work week as a normal practice, but want to do so without losing efficiency.
Driving to an office, working your set hours and then driving home has been the norm. In 2020 especially, flexible working arrangements had to be employed in order to get work done safely. Now that businesses have the option of inviting their employees back to the office full time, many business owners and employers alike are seeing the benefit that a flexible work environment offers. The concern for both is in making sure work can be done effectively and efficiently.
Define Non-Traditional Working Arrangements
Before delving into the topic of flexible work environment and how to remain efficient, let’s consider the most common alternative working arrangements:
Telecommuting or Remote Work
This allows your employees to work from home or on the road or in a satellite location during scheduled hours for all or part of their regular workweek. Not all positions are suitable for this arrangement. In most cases, jobs that are well suited for telecommuting are jobs with clearly defined tasks, minimal equipment requirements, measurable work activities, identifiable time frames for job objections and do not require much or any supervision. You should take into consideration an employees’ ability to perform, job knowledge, ability to self-disciple, time management skills and organizational skills when determining if telecommuting is a viable option for them personally. Each telecommuting arrangement must be agreed upon by both yourself as an employer and the employee.
This is when two employees share a job, with both of them working part-time hours to make up one full-time position. The important aspect of this alternative job arrangement is that the two employees sharing the job coordinate their job responsibilities to make sure all work that is their shared responsibility is completed in a timely manner and within a pre-appointed schedule.
Alternative Workday Schedules
This alternative workday option allows employees to work alternative workweek schedules. In other words, they could work four days during their workweek but work 10-hour days, instead of a typical eight-hour, five-day workweek. This alternative schedule should be approved by you as the employer and laid out for the employee.
With this option for flexibility, a worker still works a typical eight-hour workday, five days a week. However, the starting and ending time is up to them. For example, an employee might start work early in the morning, then leave for the afternoon to attend to a family issue, then come back and finish the rest of their work day through the evening.
How to Incorporate a Flexible Work Week Without Losing Efficiency
Obviously, as an employer, your goal is to remain efficient, keeping your employees doing their duties as assigned in a timely manner. However, you also want to be flexible and allow them some alternative options to the standard eight-hour in-person workday. To ensure that you keep your efficiency level up, though, while incorporating the flexibility of an alternative work schedule, consider the following points:
Know It Doesn’t Always Work, But When It Does - It Can be an Asset
In some cases, for some employees, an alternative work schedule simply won’t work. Either they are not self-disciplined enough to stay on task when away from the office, or the job itself is simply not conducive to at-home work. However, sometimes it will work extremely well. When it does work, it can be a great benefit to offer new employees or to keep existing employees as it is a great retention incentive. It can make employees trusted and respected when they are given this kind of flexibility!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Make sure whatever alternative schedule you and your employee come up with is agreed upon and communicated about in length. It’s also good to document the exchange, so you know you are both on the same page in terms of expectations for this new arrangement. Then, have regular check-ins scheduled to showcase progress.
Train if Needed
If an employee wants to enter into a new alternative schedule but needs to understand some things about the job first, don’t hesitate to train them for the task at hand. Remember, this arrangement can be advantageous for you as an employer so don’t shy away from it if training is the only thing standing in the way.
Flexible Work Week Can be Fantastic
In actuality, a flexible workweek can help you and your employees, so don’t be afraid to embrace it! Contact TPC to learn more about flexible work options and how you can get started.