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Flexible work arrangements refer to the various options given by the employer to work flexibly regarding the number of hours, location and job sharing, etc. Flexible work arrangements foster employee loyalty by enabling them to take care of their commitments. Studies show employees report higher job satisfaction levels, increased productivity, and overall well-being when given flexible working environments.
The pandemic has already taught us that working from home is possible. In fact, workers report higher productivity and better work-life integration while working remotely. Digitalization also supports flexible work arrangements. Don’t you want to work for an organization that supports flexible work schedules and follows an employee-centric approach? As an organization, you must consider implementing flexible working policies to retain talented employees.
Women employees are more likely to benefit from such arrangements as they are the primary caregivers in most households. However, work flexibility benefits all employees and improves their general well-being.
Read on to find out what are flexible work arrangements, their advantages and disadvantages, and how companies can manage them effectively.
In a compressed workweek arrangement, the employees complete their 40-hour work week in 4 days by working 10 hours instead of 8 to get an extra day off. Another option is to work 12 hours for three days to get four off days though it can be exhausting for some employees.
A compressed workweek arrangement is suitable for young single people who can work more hours and would like to enjoy extra days off for traveling or leisure activities. But for working mothers and caretakers, this option is not feasible as they can’t work 10-12 hours a day while taking care of dependents.
Companies can try multiple variations of compressed work weeks and collaborate with their employees for feedback and suggestions before implementing them.
Flexplace arrangement is the most common flexible work arrangement in most companies nowadays. The employees can work from any location as long as they accomplish their tasks efficiently.
To effectively implement a flexplace arrangement, the company must provide an online hub or a portal that is secure enough to work from any location and enables the employees to access relevant work-related information and data on it. Most companies also compensate for the flexplace set-up expenditures such as internet bills, laptops, and other office equipment.
As the name suggests, when two or more employees share the workload and responsibilities of one job role, it's called job sharing. This works in high workload situations or when one employee is not able to give full time due to some personal reasons. Such a work arrangement helps prevent employee burnout and fosters collaboration in the workplace.
The organization must ensure that the employees involved in job sharing have clearly defined duties and responsibilities. They should be compensated adequately for their work.
In a flexi-time working arrangement, employees are allowed to choose their timings of work. Some employees like to start their day early and end early in the evening, while some start around mid-morning and end at night. This policy gives tremendous flexibility to employees with personal commitments.
The only requisite for flexi-time arrangement is that employees must be present during meetings and important presentations. There must be accountability systems and performance metrics based on the work done rather than the logged-in hours.
Many organizations offer paid and unpaid time off to their employees for higher education, family issues, or medical problems. It gives the employees the benefit and flexibility to take care of personal commitments and advance their careers by pursuing relevant courses.
The company will benefit from this policy by higher employee retention rate and the advanced skills that employees undertake.
There are two types of flexible retirement options- 1. Phased retirement allows older employees to work a little longer if they are willing to, and their responsibilities are reduced gradually over time.
2. Partial retirement is the agreement between employer and employee where retired employees can work part-time or on their chosen projects.
Both the employer and employees benefit from this arrangement. Employees don’t have to take full retirement as they have the option to earn till the time they are comfortable. The organization can also benefit from experienced employees' expertise on relevant projects.
Family and work-integrated programs offer in-house child support and elderly support. The program also offers assistance during medical emergencies.
Providing support during need creates a sense of belonging in the employees.
The most significant advantage to the companies is employee retention, higher productivity, and loyalty.
Small-sized and mid-sized companies can save a lot on infrastructure costs in flexplace arrangements.
Just like a coin has a flipside, flexible work arrangements have some cons too.
The biggest hurdle is transitioning from a conventional working model to a flexible work model logistically.
Implementing new policies requires time and resources. If the model is not executed effectively it can create confusion and hamper productivity.
Managing employees in remote working environments and allowing each employee to opt for different flexible arrangements can also be quite complex.
You need to research the most suitable flexible arrangement for your organization. Then clearly define the guidelines and give appropriate training to managers. Set up performance metrics and evaluation criteria to allow flexible schedules. A clearly defined process will enable you to manage flexible work arrangements. HR can also help employees with work life integration.
With advanced technology and communication, it's easier to follow flexible work schedules. As Flexible work arrangements offer many benefits to both employees and employers. Employees have the flexibility to work on their schedule while taking care of personal commitments this helps them to create healthy work-life integration.
Have a trial and error phase before implementing the policies. Keep taking employee feedback into account and track the progress of new policies to modify them accordingly.
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