These days being fantastic at your job doesn’t rely on being at a desk in your employer’s office for eight hours a day. While workers in the USA have no right to flexible working options, more and more employers are offering them as a way to attract and retain great candidates.
Why? A lot of the work we do now really doesn’t need you to sit next to your colleagues. According to Global Workplace Analytics,50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least being able to be done partially remotely and approximately 20-25% of the workforce telecommutes (works remotely) for some of the time.
So what options are available to you? Whether you’re looking for an employer who will provide you with some flexibility to work around your family commitments, or to balance study or a side hustle, there are a number of ways you can work flexibly. And if you’re an employer wondering how best to change things up to boost productivity and retain your best staff, offering flex-options is certainly a consideration.
Here are 4 possibilities for making work more flexible.
1. Working From Home
Working from home is probably the easiest option to implement. There are hundreds of project management, task management and collaboration tools that help teams keep in touch with each other and their work wherever they are based.
Pros: Employees tend to work longer hours when they are working from home so you’ll get more done in a day. That’s because they don’t have to suffer with a commute to and from the office. People who work from home often report being less stressed and having fewer distractions.
Cons: Some managers find it hard to trust employees who are not on site. If you want to avoid micro-management, the culture of the organization has to flex with your working styles so that employees are empowered and trusted to do their work remotely. You’ll also have to work to stay in touch with the rest of the team so that everyone stays on the same page.
2. Working Part-Time
Part-time hours simply means working less than a full week: a concept that many people will remember from their student days or their first jobs.It’s a perfect option for employees who need to have regular time away from work to care for children, elderly relatives or other dependents.
If the role really does require a person available for the whole week another option is to job share, where two people take on one role, both on part-time hours. This canwork very well where the handovers are seamless, and benefit the company by bringing in two specialists for the price of one.
Pros: A part-time employee is cheaper than a full-time one as they don’t take a full salary.If the company doesn’t need someone full-time in a role they can still hire in specialist skills on reduced hours.
Cons: Don’t make the mistake of trying to fit a full-time job into part-time hours. That just leads to stress and resentment on both sides!
3. Working Compressed Hours
If the company needs a full-time person but isn’t concerned about when the hours are worked, compressed hours might be an option. This is where the employee has a full-time contract for full-time hours but does those hours over a short work week.
For example, working your entire week’s worth of hours between Tuesday and Friday and not working at all on Monday.By working four long days, you can have an extra day off.
Pros: Full-time salary for what will feel like fewer hours at work, and the company still benefits from the ‘right’ amount of work done in a week.
Cons: Many management and project-related jobs won’t work well in this format. You’ll have to be very careful to make sure that you are available at the right times for meetings and it can be a challenge to not work more hours than you are required.
4. Working With No Fixed Hours
Finally, working flexible hours is a more common variant of compressed hours and is a lot more practical for most employers and employees. In fact, your company may already offer this to some degree.
Some companies have ‘core hours’, say between 10am and 4pm, and outside of those you are free to come and go as you like which might mean an 7am-4pm day or starting at 10am after dropping the children at school and staying later into the evening.
As long as the work gets done, employers don’t particularly mind what the team’s working pattern is.
Pros: Easy to implement and a great advantage for employees, a degree of flexibility with hours worked is perfectly suited to project work where there are peaks and troughs of busyness.
Cons: Unless you have a formal scheme in place where employees keep a note of the hours worked and then ask and justify their early finishes or extra time off, you have to build an environment of trust. Without trust, this arrangement will quickly fall apart.
Looking for a new role with flexibility or staff prepared to work in a flexible way? Get in touch with us as we can help you find the perfect fit.