Some company owners have added flextime as one of their perks to lure and keep top talent. And according to a recent survey by online service FlexJobs, it may be an option worth considering.
FlexJobs surveyed nearly 2,000 parents with children 18 and younger living at home. (The company services professionals seeking flexible schedules and freelance jobs.) The survey found that the majority consider work-life balance and flexible schedules more important than salary when evaluating job prospects.
“A perk like flextime could be the deciding factor for employees who are increasingly focused on quality of life," says Don Rheem, CEO of E3 Solutions, a provider of employee workplace metrics and manager training. “Giving staff more scheduling autonomy sends a message that workers are trusted and that can increase their engagement in the workplace."
How Employee Flextime Can Benefit Your Company
Flextime's benefits are clear for employees, but how can business owners make the most of offering employees flexible scheduling? It turns out that offering flextime may also have some perks for your company.
“Having some employees work odds hours—like weekends or evenings—can be beneficial to your business," says Adda Birnir, CEO and founder of Skillcrush, an interactive learning community that teaches tech beginners digital skills. “For example, flextime gives Skillcrush greater customer service coverage and the ability to turn things around faster, because of the extra time employees spend working outside of normal work hours."
—Attiya Abdulghany, CEO, Oliver + Sons
Jason Cummins owns All Hours Air Inc., a heating and cooling installation company. He finds flexible scheduling works well for his business. “Sometimes my employees have to work late into the evening, so I allow them to come in to work a bit late. They perform better when they're well rested, which means a better advantage for me and the business."
Offering flextime can be a way to keep incredible employees who would otherwise not be able to work at your company anymore, adds Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers career coaching and resume writing services.
“For many of our employees, better performance and improved productivity come naturally with flextime," says Yang. “Some employees are early birds, while others are night owls. After building a certain amount of trust, we encourage all of our employees to tell us when they're the most productive and to simply work during those hours."
Will Flextime Work for Your Company?
Before you consider offering flexible scheduling, it's important to ask yourself if flextime will work for your company, believes Sophia Bland, co-founder of Mock Interview. The company provides interview coaching and conducts mock interviews using a team of nearly 60 employees from around the globe.
“What will providing flextime do for your company?" asks Bland. “It might allow your business to handle an influx of clients who want to work with your company outside of traditional hours. Sometimes it will make your company more efficient, as some employees are more productive when they work non-traditional hours."
It's also a good idea to look at what work style works best for your organization. That can be a company-specific decision, notes Rebecca Cenni, founder of Atrium Staffing, which provides workforce solutions to midsize and Fortune 500 companies.
“What are your competitors doing?" Cenni asks. "Could employee flextime help with retention and attracting top talent? What are the up- and downsides of offering flextime for your company?"
Taking some time for assessment is important, advises Brie Weiler Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs. She suggests asking these additional questions.
- What types of flexible work will integrate within your workplace culture and your worker's needs? Some options include full or partial telecommuting, flexible schedules, part-time options, summer Fridays off and job sharing. Consider conducting a survey to learn your employees' preferences.
- Which roles should be eligible for what types of flexibility? Customer-facing roles will need to be completed in the office, but employees who work mostly on the computer or the phone can often work from home.
- What are your main goals for using flextime? Is it to increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and morale, reduce real-estate costs, and/or expand your business offerings?
How to Get the Most out of Offering Employee Flextime
Many business owners agree that creating a clear, formalized flextime program is your best option.
“Casual policies allowing flexibility as needed or with manager approval may seem like an easy way to test work-life options, but that can ultimately backfire," says Weiler Reynolds. “Employees get confused about what options they have, managers find it difficult to stay on top of everything and people often perceive unfairness. Decide which flexible work options will be available and to whom."
Be very clear about expectations, adds Bland. “Work out with employees what tasks need to be done during traditional hours and what tasks can be done outside of traditional hours."
Use great care in who you grant employee flextime, advises Yang.
“If an employee wants flextime, we look carefully at the level of productivity and dedication shown in the past," he says. "Is the person someone who comes in late, leaves early, takes long lunch breaks and spends an exorbitant amount of time on each assignment, or the opposite? This helps predict if the person will thrive with flextime."
Measuring the ROI of Flextime
Of those companies that offer flextime, many don't measure the return on investment of doing so, according to Weiler Reynolds. If you're going to offer flextime, take a look at how it's benefiting your company, she recommends.
“Pay attention to measurable data like client satisfaction, projects completed, worker satisfaction, retention and turnover and operating costs."
Accountability is key, agrees Bland. “First measure how productive an employee is working traditional hours," she says. "Then measure how productive that employee is working flexible hours. For flextime to make sense, the second measurement should be at least as high as the first."
One of the best ways to measure the impact of flextime is to measure employee engagement, believes Rheem. “When people are engaged at work, they're strengthening their connection with their employer. The more engaged an employee is, the higher performance and productivity employers will see, regardless of when and where the employee is working."
For Birnir, flextime has a significant impact on ROI because it enables her to concentrate on running her business.
“As a CEO, your impulse is to monitor everything—when employees show up and leave, and if they're trolling Facebook all day," she says. "I've found that offering flextime and focusing on quality and quantity of work is a better metric than how and when they work."
Keep in mind that employee flextime is not for everyone, advises Attiya Abdulghany, founder and CEO of Oliver + Sons, a boutique digital strategy consulting firm with offices throughout the world.
“Despite generally having success, I've had to let a few people go who needed more structure than what our flextime, remote working environment could provide," she says. “Just as some employees are most productive in the wee hours of the night, some workers need daily physical interaction and the stability of fixed work hours to excel."
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