It's eight o'clock on a Monday morning and one of your top performers still hasn't shown up for work. How do you handle it? Do you discipline the employee for the one-time slip, even though you know the person will work late to make up the time? Does your answer change if the tardiness happens every single day?
Flexible work schedules have both positives and negatives. While some managers feel that structure is good for a work environment, employees increasingly seek positions that offer leeway in work hours. Whether this means allowing untraditional hours or paying workers for outcomes rather than having them occupy a desk all day, there are a few reasons flexibility might be a good fit for your organization.
Attract and Retain Workers
Flexible work hours rank among the top three benefits today's job seekers want in an employer. This is especially true for Millennials, who want the ability to work flexibly without being judged for it. Organizations struggling to attract younger workers may find that they gain an edge over their more traditional competitors. A less restrictive work schedule may also keep employees around as they start families and strive for a better work-life balance. When career offers start coming in, these employees will also be more likely to opt to remain in a flexible work environment rather than trading that flexibility in on a better-paying position elsewhere.
Better Business Performance
Your employees may occupy a space for eight hours a day, but this doesn't necessarily mean those hours are productive. In fact, multiple studies have revealed that flexibility improves morale and overall work performance, which benefits the business. When employees feel as though they have control over their own schedules, they tend to be more invested in their work and do a better job as a result.
Depending on how the flexible work arrangement is structured, businesses may be able to save money. Instead of having 20 employees sitting side-by-side in cubicles all day, for instance, a business can have some of those employees share space. Over time, employers may even be able to downsize to a smaller office space or rent out areas of the office that are no longer being used. In addition to saving money on the space itself, a business also cuts costs each month on utilities.
When an employer relaxes the rules on work schedules, the result is a lower-stress environment for everyone. Employees no longer have to spend every morning battling heavy rush-hour traffic to get to work at a typical work time, only to battle their way home each evening in the same maddening traffic. Employers and HR teams can redirect the efforts they once spent on policing employee tardiness into handling performance issues, which more directly impact the success of the business in the long run.
When an employer allows employees to work flexible schedules, everyone benefits. While some employers fear they'll lose team cohesiveness with such a schedule, technology has made it easier for team members to stay in touch whether they're at home or in the office. As long as employees understand they'll need to be reachable in urgent situations, a flexible work arrangement can benefit the employee without hurting the business's ability to serve its clients.