Keep Workers Happy by Offering Flex-Time
July 08, 2014
The daily grind is not looking at all like what it used to be. The typical 9-5 workday is seeing a transformation, thanks to technology and flexible shifts, and now even lawmakers in the U.K. are taking it into consideration to favor more employee-friendly practices, which will allow workers to request a more adjustable work schedule.
According to Business Reporter, a survey in the U.K. found 70 percent 1,161 full-time employees wished for work flexibility at a future time, whereas 42 percent want it right now.
In the U.K., the right to request flexible work was extended on July 1 of this year. What this means is that new rules coming into force state that all employees with 26 weeks or more of service a year will be able to request flexible working, albeit at their employer’s discretion. However, employers will have to address every request in a “reasonable manner.”
Essentially a variation on your existing working routine, examples of flexible working include working from home, part-time work, flexi-time and job sharing.
In the U.S., it’s a different story. Depending on who you work for and where you work, there may or may not be flex time. President Barack Obama told agency heads in a June 23 memo on expanding workplace flexibility in the federal government that federal employees now have the right to request a more flexible work schedule and managers must "carefully" consider those requests.
Obama's directive to federal agencies says employees have the right to request flexible options "without fear of retaliation or adverse employment action," and that supervisors should meet with employees who request these options to "understand fully the nature and need for the requested flexibility," according to the memo.
Of course, this is just for people who are in public service under the federal government. This does not pertain to private corporations, which each operate under their own policies.
Businesses in all sectors should take note, however, that offering workplace flexibility can have a positive impact company-wide. The simple benefit is this: people work harder when their working hours and locations suit them. If people work harder, companies prosper.
It literally pays companies to be nice. If employers fit their practices around their employees’ needs – or at a minimum, be seen to take their flexible working request seriously -- said employees will work harder and make the company more money.
Technology can make it easy to manage how and when you offer flexible work time to employees. Workforce optimization software is a solid choice. It can help maintain a high level of contact by encouraging a two-way flow of communication between management and the distance worker, and the distance worker and their other colleagues. This is especially important if an off-site employee is working on his or her own. It can also ensure appropriate orientation for staff that works in the office, so that they are assured that all employees -- regardless of their work location -- are equally pulling their weight.
Plenty of research shows that companies with a flexible working policy see clear business benefits as a result. If you’re thinking about offering a flexible working option, it may be worth investing in some workforce optimization software to help manage how and when you do it.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson