Flexible Working Arrangements Why You Need It and How to Get Them

Flexible Working Arrangements

With the current fuel prices and transportation challenges for employees, flexible work arrangements may be an option that can meet the needs of both the department and the employee. Departments are strongly encouraged to be as flexible as possible in allowing for alternative work schedules.

Flexibility can be challenging, especially in small organizations. There may be days when no one is in the office because they all worked at the special event the evening before. A disgruntled employee who leaves might claim hundreds of overtime hours for which you have no records. Someone may have to take stress leave because they did not take any time off in lieu of all their overtime. These kinds of situations underscore the importance of having clear, effective HR policies.

Current scenario…

Despite effective HR policies, employees find some element of scope to abuse this arrangement. Even with giving them instructions on how they should track their hours, keeping track of hours, becomes difficult as there are several complexities one needs to consider to capture the work schedule – calculate the actual hourly rate for each employee, see if some jobs are too big and others too small, etc.

There are several principles organizations follow to ensure that flexible working arrangement is availed by employees in their best interest and not misused. There are a few organizations wherein employees on a flexible working arrangement – be it compressed workweek, part-time work, work from home or flexi-time are asked to fill in their timesheet. We all know the effort it takes to fill in the timesheet manually. The data shared by the employee – is it correct and is not biased?

Way ahead…

Upgrading my timesheet software to ClockIt, I continue to be at ease whether employees work from office or from any remote location in the world. I do not spend sleepless nights calculating their time clock and timesheets and I don’t ask them to fill in timesheets, thereby letting them focus on what they do best!

Sign up for our free version and increase your organization’s happiness index! After all, employee happiness & employee engagement are the two halves of the same pie!


Flexible Working Arrangements:

Why You Need It and How to Get Them.

New research has found that we are working in new ways to fit our digital world and the needs of a 21st Century work culture. The rise of remote work, independent contractors and freelancers, and a global workforce has forced companies to re-evaluate their workplace policies. Working from home, having shorter commutes, or working reduced hours are all critical elements to a more productive and balanced society. But not all employers have caught up with this trend. If you’re looking for a job or thinking about how to further your career in HR—with flexibility being one of the top benefits listed by job seekers—now is the time to make your voice heard about what kind of flexibility you want if you get hired or promoted at your company.

Why Employees Want Flexibility

Why are people so interested in working flexibility? First of all, it’s not Millennials. Gen X, Gen Y, and even Boomers look to work. People are looking for more work/life balance. They want to spend more time with their families, travel or have the ability to work from home when they need to take care of a sick child. They also want to avoid the stress of driving in traffic every day. They want to avoid the costs of gas, parking and wear and tear on their vehicles. They want the option to telecommute for a few days when an ice storm hits. And finally, they want the chance to work for days or weeks when they have to care for a sick loved one or have the opportunity to earn more money by freelancing for a few months.

Remote Working

Remote work is not new and can be successful when managed. But, it can also go wrong, with poor communication and relationship management in the team being the most common problems experienced by organizations. Organizations are often reluctant to embrace remote work or working from home, but those organizations that have been the most welcoming of remote work have seen the benefits. People working in remote environments often feel their productivity and motivation levels are higher. This can be attributed to the fact that they control their working environment and have more flexibility about when and where they work. Remote working is not without its challenges, so organizations open to allowing people to work must operate with some guidelines and expectations.

Shorter Commutes

Commuting can consume a lot of your time, leaving you stressed and tired before the day even starts. Some studies have found that commuting can be as bad for your health as smoking, so it’s little wonder that people are looking for ways to reduce their commute times. There are many ways organizations can reduce the length of employee commutes, including flexible working hours, allowing employees to work from home one or more days a week, paying for public transportation, or supporting carpooling. Some companies are even paying employees to get rid of their cars altogether by buying them a bike or covering the cost of membership at a local gym where they can shower and lock up their clothes. Some organizations also have carpooling apps for employees to find each other and set up carpooling schedules.

Shorter Work Weeks

Some organizations already have a compressed work week, where employees work for four days and then have the fifth day off. This can be done on a rotating basis or once a month, meaning you have more time for other activities. Some organizations have even gone as far as allowing employees to negotiate a shorter work week. This is often done on a case-by-case basis and based on the employee’s experience and work. If your organization doesn’t have a compressed work week or isn’t open to the idea of a shorter work week, you can still request to work fewer hours a week.

Telecommuting and Virtual Working

Working can be an excellent way to reduce stress and improve productivity, but it requires a certain level of trust to be placed in the employee. You can’t watch someone type on a keyboard or see if they’re in the right frame of mind to be working. It’s a leap of faith that many managers are unwilling to take. If you’re eager to work, you can push for a trial period where you work from home for a few days each week. This will show your manager that you’re serious about working and free up time to work when you have the best chance of being productive. The concept of virtual teams and virtual offices are becoming more and more common. Organizations realize they can get the best people for the job, even if they happen to be in a different location or prefer to work.

Benefits of flexible work arrangements

One of the best ways to boost productivity and engagement at your organization is to put in place flexible working arrangements. Implementing them, so they don’t become another way to reward high performers or key employees. There are many benefits to implementing flexible working arrangements. They include: –
  • Increased productivity – Workers with more flexible schedules are more productive. They are happier and less stressed, meaning they are more likely to perform at their highest level.
  • Reduced absenteeism – If employees need reduced hours due to illness, a medical condition, or caring for a child, flexible work arrangements can help reduce absenteeism.
  • Improved employee retention – Retaining employees is expensive. Flexible work arrangements are proven to reduce turnover and ensure your team stays strong.
  • Higher cultural fit – When employees feel like their needs are being met and they have more control over their schedules, they are more likely to be engaged with their work and the company. This will impact your company culture.
  • An edge in recruiting – With more and more people looking for jobs with flexible work schedules, it gives you an edge in recruiting the best talent for your organization.

Other Reasons for Flexibility in the Workplace

Apart from the clear productivity and retention benefits, there are a few other reasons to consider flexible work arrangements in your organization. – Flexibility can also help combat depression and anxiety among employees, two mental health issues on the rise in workplaces worldwide. – By allowing employees to work or with reduced hours, you open up your company to a larger talent pool. You can recruit from a broader range of people, not those who can work a 9-to-5 job. – You can also hire people looking for part-time work, which can be great for parents. – You can also attract retirees or people looking for more flexible work options by offering them the opportunity to work. This can help you fill positions with experienced individuals who might otherwise have been out of the picture because they have children or other commitments that keep them from working full-time. – You also have the opportunity to provide more benefits to your employees by offering them more flexible work options.

Bottom line: It’s up to you.

Flexibility in the workplace is trending upward, and more companies are adapting to the change in their employees’ needs for more flexible work schedules. If you are part of this group of employees looking for flexibility in the workplace, you need to make your desires known to your manager. If you’re looking for a job, you need to make sure that you say that you want flexibility in your work schedule so that your manager knows you’re serious. Flexibility is not a right, and it’s a privilege. It’s up to you to ask for it and ensure you have a manager who understands the benefits of a more flexible workplace.
Farzi Ahmed