Since the rise of working from home, managing the flexibility of employees has been a challenge for some managers. The absence of going into an office has opened employees to choose where to work, when to work, and how to meet deadlines to assigned objectives. As a manager in the 21st century, you are duty-bound to provide a flexible working arrangement for your team members. Flexibility in workplaces is a new phenomenon that needs well-thought policies and management to succeed. Here, we will provide you with tips on how to manage flexible working hours for employees working remotely.
What Is a Flexible Workforce?
A flexible workforce is a workforce that adapts to changes in the business environment and achieves the objectives of an organization. Flexibility is viewed from a skill and size perspective. If your workers have flexible skills, they can fit in a variety of departments and vice versa. Size flexibility, on the other hand, refers to changing the volume of a workforce. Volume changes respond to variation in demand or other factors.
A workforce that works in shifts or operates remotely is an example of size flexibility that appreciates the available workspace and employees' preferences. The transition to remote work in 2020 forced most managers to create flexible working shifts to reduce office congestion. Surprisingly, some organizations benefited from what others saw as a disruption of work programs. The difference in success came from how well the managers managed the flexible workers.
How to Manage Flexible Working Hours for Employees
Flexible working hours provide mutual benefits for both employees and employers. As an employer, you increase employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover when you allow flexible working hours. Employee satisfaction enhances efficiency through an increase in employee engagement and a reduction in absenteeism. However, the elephant in the room is how to manage flexible working hours.
You can effectively manage flexible working hours by adopting the following policies;
- Allow all the employees to apply for the program. If you want your policy to succeed, make it open to all your employees. No employee should feel discriminated against by the flexibility policy.
- Make specific and clear policies. A communication breakdown is a cause of conflict between you and the workers.
- Strike a balance between the need for flexibility and the demands for operations. Employees should not enjoy flexibility at the expense of their business.
- Focus your employee appraisals and promotion on outputs rather than working patterns.
How to Create a Flexible Workforce
You can create a flexible workforce by utilizing the following tips;
- Draft a flexible working arrangement. You must have noted differences in your workers' or machine engagement at different periods. It's time to make use of your observations by drafting a working arrangement based on the peaks and the quiet periods in your businesses. Allow your workers some freedom in the slow periods, and engage them fully in peak hours.
- Document all the skills of your employees. Skill is an aspect of flexibility, as employees can move from one department to another if they have the necessary skills. If your employees have only one skill, consider requiring the second skill in future employment.
- Consider a Time-off-in-Lieu' (TOIL) system. A TOIL system allows you to release your workers during low seasons and engage them in high seasons to compensate for time spent away from work. Your workers enjoy a consistent monthly salary, although they may work overtime in peak seasons.
How to Manage Employee Schedules
Employees love to have their time and are more productive when given some level of freedom. You will, therefore, encourage creativity and innovation when you provide flexible schedules for your workers. However, ensure there is a balance between the need for flexible schedules and achieving business objectives. Here are some ways of managing employees' schedules:
- Always emphasize communication. Communication is an integral part of any business organization. Ensure you maintain consistent communication with your workers regardless of whether they are working full time or on flexible schedules. Use emails, meetings & video calls, messaging applications, or face-to-face communication to discuss the availability of your workers for specific tasks.
- Keep track of your employees' schedules. Employee schedules are there to help the employee to balance their life and work interests. Personal interests should not override the importance of having work at their workplace. You should therefore monitor the schedules to identify their successes and failures and adjust accordingly.
- Draw clear policies. Flexible schedules mean that workers can choose when to come to the office or where their workstation is. You should, therefore, have clear guidelines on who can benefit from the program and the conduct of staff working remotely. Remote workers should not distract or delay those operating from the office.
We Can Help You
At Desktop.com, we understand your desire to provide flexibility to your workers. We also understand that flexible working arrangements, your business, should not affect the success of your business. We have, therefore, invested in helping you balance the need for flexibility and demand from your business by facilitating remote and online working tools. Learn how you can create a flexible workforce with Desktop.com today!