Flexible working arrangements aren’t a new concept, but in this post-pandemic world, they are certainly getting a lot more attention.
When many states and cities issued orders to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine was available, flexible work arrangements, most notably remote work, became a necessity. However, with vaccines widely available and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted worldwide, the necessity may be gone, but the desire to have more flexibility in how, when, and where an employee works has not disappeared at all.
With millions of employees demonstrating that telework doesn’t in any way hamper productivity and in some cases even boost it, it’s difficult for an employer to insist on the daily in-office 9-5 work day. That’s why flexible work arrangements are now commonplace as a strategy to attract and retain top talent in a company.
Types of Flexibility
When discussing flexible work arrangements, there are two categories: location and schedule.
This type of flexibility is when the employee has a choice not to report to the office every day for work. Most commonly known as remote work, this option allows employees the opportunity to work from a home office and be plugged into the workplace through online tools.
There are three types of location flexibility:
- 100% Remote
This arrangement means the employee is completely remote and does not report to an office for any business. In fact, there might not even be a physical office. According to a Gallup poll, 65% of employees working white collar jobs reported working 100% remotely with no indications that this trend will decrease.
This arrangement is ideal for employees who need to conduct some business face-to-face while being able to do other tasks remotely. Therefore, these employees report to the office for a specific number of days and then work remotely the remaining days.
- Snowbird Programs
Some companies that have headquarters in warmer climates offer snowbird programs. These programs allow employees to work remotely for the warmer seasons and then relocate to the company’s headquarters for the colder seasons to take advantage of their warmer climate.
The pandemic not only showed that productive work can be done remotely, but it also shed light on the idea that traditional 9-5 hours aren’t necessary either. There are several ways employers can show flexibility with schedules and not lose productivity:
- Flex Time
Flex time allows employees to choose the hours they work during the day or the freedom to change those hours as needed. Under this type of program, a set amount of hours are required of the employee, but their schedule is flexible.
- Compressed Work Week
This type of arrangement allows employees to work their full 40 hours a week, but they have the flexibility to compress those hours into fewer days. For example, they may choose to work 10-hour days, meaning they will have a 4-day work week and an additional day off.
Probably the most familiar concept among the flexible schedule options is part-time work. This type of arrangement is for jobs that don’t require a full 40 hours. This type of schedule flexibility opens your job pool up to more people including students, working parents, and those who don’t wish to have a full work week.
- Job Sharing
If you don’t have positions that are part-time but you have excellent part-time candidates, consider job sharing as a flexible option. Two employees have the combined responsibility of one position while only working in that position part-time.
Benefits and Challenges
Flexible work arrangements are not without their benefits and challenges. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits outweigh the challenges that arise to attract and keep the workforce you’re looking for.
Some benefits of offering flexible work arrangements include:
- Recruiting talent
- Higher morale among employees
- Higher retention rates
- Better life/work balance for employees
Reduction in your business’s carbon footprint with less commuting and less need for building new office spaces
Some challenges can include:
- More challenging supervision of work
- Resistance to change by some employers and employees
- Less team cohesion due to different locations
- Concerns over data security
Are you thinking about trying more flexible options? Do you have questions about what that might look like in your business? Complete Payroll has articles that will help you answer questions about flexible work arrangements and more on our blog site. Visit us today for up-to-date information about all things HR and Payroll.