Flexible Work Schedules

As summer comes to an end and the children of our valuable workforces begin or return to school, it would be wise to consider developing a flexible workplace policy and program.  Implementing a program to improve life work balance and improve employee mental health due to peace of mind and stress reduction, and flexible workplace program can improve loyalty, trust, engagement, productivity and performance.

It is important to understand the difference between a flexible work schedule and a compressed work schedule when writing your policies.  Also, equally important is developing documentation related to any request or approval, and the commitment by the employee to remain in the approved schedule until a new schedule is requested and approved.

Failure to effectively document and hold the employee accountable can result in employees on a whim adjusting their schedule without notice or approval.

A flexible work schedule is the process of changing the hours of an employee’s scheduled work shift, basically shifting their entire full day of perhaps hour (8) hours to an earlier or later start / end.  For example, an employee may have daycare obligations you want to support them with, so you change the start time daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, which in turn extends their daily schedule by one hour to end at 6:00 pm versus 5:00 pm.  This example assumes a 60-minute meal break period.  When making this flexible schedule, the employee works the same scheduled days, the benefit is an adjustment to the start and stop time.  The benefit of this approach is flexibility for the employee, and minimal disruption for the employer and potentially the customer or client.

A compressed schedule would be changing from a five (5) day workweek of eight (8) hour workdays to a four (4) day ten (10) hour work day.  This compresses the workweek for the employee and can often provide additional benefits.  Such as a longer weekend, a break in the middle of the week, less time travelling to and from the office, and a reduction in drain on company resources onsite.  The negative impact can include a loss in resource capability to deliver products or services on the days the employee is not at work or performing work.  Further, if the employee is line staff or not a member of management, you will need to ensure there is supervision available during the extended hours based on this schedule.  It is always best practice to have a people leader onsite and available any time an employee is actively working.  Another potential risk is customer or client concerns with being unable to reach the resource during your business operating hours.  There is more to consider when exploring a compressed work schedule.

Balance the pros and cons, and ensure any change is for the mutual benefit of the employee and employer, as well as minimize disruption for the customer or client.  Engage your workforce when exploring a program to get input before finalizing your program. TAHR Services Inc team is here to help you navigate these challenges.  Schedule a free consultation today for peace of mind tomorrow!

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