Workers are increasingly looking for flexibility in how they work and how they report to work. With voice, video, and collaborative technology making immense improvements in the last few years, this desire is becoming a very feasible possibility for a lot of companies. Many employers are trying to facilitate flexible and remote work while making sure their employees remain productive.
Here’s how to make it work for your company.
Care for your employees
Show your employees that you respect them and trust them to get their work done. Know how important it is for them to achieve a work-life balance. Perhaps flexibility allows them to care for an ailing loved one, adjust to a new baby, or simply accommodate a commitment to a new hobby. Either way, happier, healthier employees who feel respected are more likely to be productive and stay in their jobs.
Measure employee results, not hours
You can allow workers to make their own schedules as long as they meet pre-determined metrics for financial performance and client service. In other words, as long as they’re getting their work done, who cares when and where they do it? Recognize that not everyone does their best work between the hours of 9 to 5.
Of course there are instances where a face-to-face meeting is more effective than an email exchange or conference call. But in general, advancements in communication technology and shared information systems allow people to be productive almost anywhere. The downside is that digital devices can blur the lines between work and life as employees feel like they need to respond to a development in real time simply because they can.
Clearly define rules and be sure to communicate them to all your employees, even those who do work during conventional hours. You don’t want them to get frustrated with one another because they’re expecting responses from someone who’s not working at that moment. Let your workers know if you expect them to be logged on or accessible between certain hours, if needed. Set firm deadlines and quotas so that you can accurately measure how productive your workers are if you don’t track their hours.
Consider looser hours and shifts for less busy times of the business year and adhering to a more rigid work schedule when the workload is busier. Another option is to average out your employees’ hours across the year so they have the ability to reduce their hours during quieter times. Their wages could remain consistent from week to week, aside from bonuses or commissions.
Since the concept of flexibility is such a motivator to keep workers happy, it’s important to try and meet the demand. Remember that if you don’t provide these types of options for your workers, a competing company surely will!