Flexible work arrangements are getting popular day by day. Employers have realized that providing flexibility in work arrangement helps in attracting better quality resources, reducing absenteeism, increasing engagement and reducing turnover. Organizations, these days are opting for different types of flexible work arrangements like variable schedules, part time work, and telecommuting. However, along with the plethora of benefits, flexible work arrangements also come with a few issues. There still lies a stigma around flexibility and many believe that people working with flexible work arrangements are neither productive nor helpful. This implies that when organizational leaders implement flexible working arrangements, there often is a gap between what has been instructed and how the everyday work is being carried out. On the other hand, many employees also feel that they have access to fewer growth opportunities when they take up flexible work arrangements. Flexible work arrangements need to be handled strategically so that the organizations can reap the benefits.
Take a look at the ways a company can better handle flexible work arrangements:
- Evaluate the Arrangement
While planning and developing a flexible work program, it’s important to take inputs from employees. Find out their interests and needs, and communicate your plan clearly. Also evaluate if your work arrangement is suitable for the specific type of work. Your work arrangement should maintain a balance between the needs of the employees and needs of the organization to produce quality products and services.
2. Implement Formal Policies
Informal policies on work arrangements can prove to be unproductive, leading to loss of employees, lower morale, or even legal action. Always prepare a formal written policy on flexible work plans, mentioning every detail clearly so that employees know that you are impartial and are not discriminating against any specific employee(s).
3. Monitor, Assess and Update
You need to continuously monitor and make improvements in your flexible work arrangements. Once you develop and implement a program, regularly monitor it and assess how much helpful it is in reaching organizational goals and meeting employee requirements. If required, make adjustments or update your policies. Discuss with employees about the arrangements and encourage suggestions and feedback. It’s a good idea to initiate with pilot programs, informing employees that if the plan doesn’t work it may result in returning to the prior work arrangement.
4. Maintain Regular Communications
Flexible work arrangements often result in lack of communication between employees and their co-workers, managers or supervisors. Ensure that you are communicating regularly and clearly with employees with flexible work arrangements. Conduct staff meetings and encourage information sharing. Contact with telecommuters shouldn’t be limited to email. Encourage having telephonic conversations with co-workers or supervisors.
5. Change the Management’s Mindset
It’s easier to evaluate the work process of employees in traditional work arrangement but with flexible arrangements managers are often resistant towards adopting new ways of supervision. Educate your managers and help them change their mindset. They need to learn how to handle and evaluate work in different arrangements with equal trust and respect. Managers need to understand that it’s important to measure the work output regardless of location or schedule of the employee.
6. Safeguard Your Organization Against Lawsuits
In recent years many companies have faced lawsuits for flexi time abuses. Most of them are concerned with misclassification of workers and faulty pay practices. As an employer you need to know the laws and regulations thoroughly and correct your classification and pay practices. To protect your organization against lawsuits, maintain proper documentation and ensure compliance with various regulations.
Implementing a flexible work arrangement requires careful planning or the benefits could turn into problems.