Why You Should Consider A Flex Schedule (& Why You Shouldn’t!)
Thanks to Coronavirus, work landscapes are changing fast and many companies are struggling to keep up with everything that’s going on. The U.S. is dealing with a phenomenon coined The Great Resignation, but the pandemic is changing how people work all over the world. Employees want to work remotely. They want a flex schedule. They want fewer hours and more benefits.
So how are you and your business supposed to juggle all of these demands, Covid restrictions, as well as client and customer needs all at the same time? It’s tough for everyone.
But in today’s post, we’re going to tell you why you should consider a flex schedule and why you shouldn’t. Let’s get started.
What is a Flex Schedule?
Flex schedules and remote work are not the same things. Working remotely means that an employee works from home and never or rarely has to come into the office. This is now possible thanks to popular communication software and project management software.
A flex schedule means that an employee works primarily at the office but can leave as needed to perform personal tasks. This can include picking up children from school, running personal errands, etc…
However, the employee is still required to be at the office for meetings and to work most of their day at the office. The flex schedule allows them to finish up work at home if they have obligations during the day that they need to take care of personally.
Who Should Consider It?
Flex schedules aren’t for everyone, this much is true. Some industries are way too rigid with duties to be able to offer something like this.
You Have the Tech
Offering flex schedules require the ability to allow your employees to work from home part of the day or on occasions. This will likely require software upgrades for being able to access files, monitor efficiency, and communicate with other team members.
The unfortunate truth is that the software and equipment needed may not be cheap. So if you’re on a tight budget, this may not be for you.
Your Employees Can be Trusted
Giving employees the ability to come and go, more or less as they see fit, isn’t always a good idea. Some companies prefer to micromanage their employees. Some employees just want to come into the office, work normal hours, and then go home.
Sometimes there simply isn’t enough trust between the top and the bottom to allow employees to have such a wide berth.
Who Shouldn’t Consider It?
Your secrets are the most important thing for your business. There are plenty of companies out there that don’t want to or simply can’t trust employees with sensitive material on networks that are not safe. But that’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t consider a flex schedule.
Your Company Keeps Secrets
Many businesses have patents or other trade secrets they do not want to be leaked to the public or the competition. Providing equipment and software for employees to use at home could open the doors for various forms of corporate espionage.
Your employees could release information themselves but other businesses could also hire hackers to infiltrate and gather the information that way. While this is an unlikely scenario for many businesses, it’s something to consider.
You’re Plagued with Employees who are Lazy
If you churn through a lot of employees for one reason or another, flex schedules probably aren’t for you. You’re going to run the constant risk of your workforce taking equipment home, possibly damaging it, or outright stealing it.
Training employees to operate equipment and software can be expensive. High turnover rates will make it most cost-effective to keep everything in-house.
Your Business Requires Everyone to be in the Office
High-energy, high-stress environments will require everyone to be in the office at all times. When you watch The Wolf of Wall Street, did you see anyone working from home?
No. And yes, the internet wasn’t what it is now. But those guys fed off of each other’s energy. So even if flex schedules were a thing in Jordan Belfort’s time, he would never have allowed it to be a thing.
The Pros of Using a Flex Schedule
If you’ve never used a flex schedule with your company before, you probably have a mix of curiosity and excitement about how it can benefit your business. Let’s dive into some of the pros.
Can Help Attract and Retain Talent
In a world where more and more people are looking for remote opportunities, flex schedules can offer your business something similar. Not every company can offer remote work to its workforce.
If you’re in an industry where fully remote work is not viable, then your competition probably feels the same way. Flex scheduling can offer you the chance to stand out in the crowd, attract new talent, and help you to retain your best employees.
It’s less about what they can do for you and more about what you can do for them. If employees want to work from home, make sure they have the right tools to be successful. If you can pull that off, most of the time your employees will work just as hard, maybe harder, than they would in the office.
When employees are used to the same old 9-5 grind but it’s burning them out, you could see top talent flocking to your business.
Positive Work/Life Balance
Big tech companies are a great example of giving their employees the best possible work/life balance all while keeping their people at the office.
Google, Microsoft, and Uber are known for their perks. They offer gourmet-like restaurants in-house, along with areas for meditation, relaxing, and even napping. Reasons for this treatment have more to do with the demand on employees’ time and is an attempt to keep people in the office as long as possible without them burning out.
Burnout is one of the top reasons why people leave their employers.
We’ve come to a point in human evolution where people are starting to care more about their physical and mental health than the company’s profit. If you want them to stick around for the long haul, then you’re going to have to provide incentives to keep them around.
A flex schedule can do just that. If your best coder wants to work four ten-hour shifts or three twelve-hour shifts, then why not let them have it? You’ll still get the hours you need from them, they’ll get the money they need, and everyone is happy.
One of the great things about flex schedules is there is no one-size-fits-all way of doing it. You can do half-days in the office with the other half from home. Or, you can shrink down a day with other days of the week having more hours. Lastly, you can even allow people to set their own schedules.
The Cons of Using a Flex Schedule
Flex schedules can be a double-edged sword. You’ll want to perform a cost-benefit analysis to decide if it’s right for you. Here are some of the downsides.
Some Employees Will Abuse the System
There is no way around it. Where you have smart, clever employees, you will find someone trying to game the system to make it work for them in a way that doesn’t work for the company.
Laziness happens. So do absences.
It’s really important you don’t blame this possibility for not trying out flex schedules. They really can be a beautiful thing. And at the end of the day, it very well could be your fault as to why the employee was misbehaving.
Maybe you didn’t train them properly. Or maybe they didn’t understand how to use the system the right way. Maybe management dropped the ball on communicating the scheduling strategies your company wanted to try.
Instead of not trying the scheme based on the fear of abuse, sit down with employees and management and come up with a system that works for everyone.
High Cost of Training and Equipment
Any time you want to try something new, it’s going to cost money. There’s equipment to buy, software, and training.
You may have to hire a team to train management and employees to train other managers and employees. It happens every day and for many types of equipment and software, there isn’t much you can do about it.
However, if you want to build a team that’s going to stick around and make your company great, you’re going to have to spend money.
“It takes money to make money.”
So think of these costs as an investment in your company’s future if you can. But we know that new businesses and companies that operate on razor-thin margins might just not be able to do it.
Flex schedules have the ability to retain the talent you have and make your business attractive to recruits. If it’s something no one else in your business offers, you may be able to acquire your competition’s best employees.
But the focus shouldn’t just be on getting the best recruits. It should be on the people. It’s time we start to think of employees less as labor and more as a family. If you take care of them and keep them happy, they’ll do the same for you.
We appreciate you stopping by and reading today’s post. If you liked it, check out this one on annual leave accrual: What is it and how does it work?