Many small business owners cringe at the words “workplace flexibility.” Most probably assume that this means telecommuting or employees working from home. And often the assumption is that workplace flexibility is not something that will work for their company or their industry. But statistics show that workplace flexibility is important to employees and still not widely available. Four out of five employees says that flexibility is very important when considering a new job, but less than one in four have access to a flexible working arrangement.
The key to making workplace flexibility a possibility in your organization is changing the way you look at it. Flexible working arrangements can be anything from flexible PTO policies to job sharing and telecommuting. One example we heard recently was a manufacturing company that had an employee with grade school aged children and she just wanted a 15 minute break when their kids were arriving home from school so they could call and check in. This was easy for the employer to accommodate and increased the employees happiness and productivity because she was no longer worried about her kids from 3-5pm every day.
Flexibility is not just a benefit you are offering employees; it is a strategy for your business. Many companies have found that they actually save money and have no reduction in productivity when they adopt some flexible work arrangement. Since every business is different, there is no one right way to add workplace flexibility. Think about what your employees might want (maybe even ask them) and what you would be comfortable with. The Society for Human Resource Management has some great tools for employers considering workplace flexibility as a strategy. Our HR experts at A Plus Benefits would also love to brainstorm with you.
Too often we find out that employees are interested in a flexible working arrangement when it is too late. Instead of losing these employees, why not start a dialogue now so that discussions of adjusting schedules to meet the needs of employees becomes a part of your culture.