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Employee Retention Part 3: Supporting Employees with Flexwork

In a landscape where employees are being increasingly selective about where they work, employers are looking for ways to introduce small perks that could make a big difference in employees’ lives. One that can sometimes be overlooked is flexwork—or flexibility in terms of when and where people work.

All employees have to balance work with personal and family needs, and this balance can sometimes be difficult to strike. An employer with policies that make it more difficult to find this balance risks losing a talented employee to a more accommodating organization. Conversely, introducing flexwork policies to your organization can make employees feel valued and respected as full people.
Introducing flexwork requires some careful planning, and the exact policies you adopt will depend on your organization. However, there are ways for nearly any type of business to become more flexible.

Flexibility in Where or When People Work

Flexwork means being creative and accommodating in terms of where and/or when people work. Over the past couple years, many businesses had to become more flexible about the “where” part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of office-based jobs went remote, and in the process, people found that remote work didn’t hinder productivity. In fact, it actually improved it in many cases.
Going forward, many organizations would benefit from flexwork policies that recognize the value of allowing employees to occasionally work remotely. While there’s arguably still value in going to the office, employees should have the option to work from home when it suits their needs.

Of course, plenty of jobs can’t be done remotely. This is particularly true for airport concessions or services employees, as well as many other types of workers at Hartsfield-Jackson. Even when flexibility in terms of location is out of the question, though, you can still offer employees flexibility in terms of scheduling.

Giving employees the chance to have a say in when their shifts are helps them feel valued and respected while allowing them to have a good work-life balance—something that’s imperative for keeping employees at your company.

Approaches to Flexible Scheduling

There are several different approaches to flexible scheduling, but almost any business can find an approach that works for them.
The most straightforward is to ask employees when they would prefer to work and accommodate their needs to the best of your ability. If possible for your organization, it can be helpful to give employees the opportunity to independently sign up for shifts or switch shifts with other employees, perhaps via an online portal.

Sometimes an hour or two can make all the difference if an employee needs to pick children up from school or avoid rush hour traffic. Depending on employee needs, you may want to stagger the beginning of shifts to allow for this flexibility.

Many businesses that employee shift workers alienate their workforce by only giving a few days’ notice of scheduling changes or keeping employees on call. While these practices are often described as flexible, they’re anything but from the employee’s perspective. Instead, they can interrupt other obligations and add unnecessary stress to an employee’s life. Eliminating this practice in favor of policies that give employees more say in when they work can be a significant factor in your retention.

Employers that operate on a more traditional Monday-Friday schedule can implement flexibility by allowing employees to start earlier or finish later than the old-fashioned 9-5 allows for. For example, someone with kids in school may want to work 7-3 to accommodate school schedules, while someone who lives farther away may wish to avoid rush hour by working 10-6. Some people may even find that they’re more productive late at night or early in the morning, and as long as they’re otherwise available for meetings, you could see productivity benefits from accommodating them.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to listen to employees and make an honest effort to meet their needs. No organization can accommodate every single employee, but by being flexible, open, and willing to try, you can position yourself as an employer worth build a career with.

Need help crafting the best flexwork policies for your organization?

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