Formalized Flextime? The Perk That Brings Productivity
In 1997, more than 25 million workers varied their hours to some degree, with staggered start times, compressed workweeks, job sharing, and part-time hours, according to the article “Flexible Schedules and Shift Work: Replacing the 9-to-5 Workday?” by Thomas Beers in the June 2000 issue of Monthly Labor Review. But, he adds, most flexible workers alter their schedules on an informal basis. Statistics show that of those 25 million workers, less than 6 percent have formal arrangements.
The companies referenced in the article highlight a few key items that have enabled them to be successful in offering thier employees flexible schedules:
- Use flex policies to lure new employees by mentioning it in job openings.
- Recognize that flextime isn’t a perk, it’s a strategic tool. Employees who take advantage of Ernst and Young’s flex program are “more loyal, dedicated, and motivated,” says Denny Marcel, a member of E&Y’s Office for Retention.
- Empower employees to craft flexible solutions. “When employees have a vested interest in planning their schedules, they are more dogged in coming up with creative solutions,” says Marcel. “That crosses over to client work.”
- Expect employees to make a business case for going flextime. The focus can’t be just on the individual, it should be on the client as well. If the clients’ needs will be served, a flex schedule is appropriate.
- Give employees a formal structure for planning and implementing a flexible schedule. A step-by-step process helps them think through all the issues involved and foresee any obstacles. Involve experienced flex workers in writing the policies, and make them available as mentors.
- Share success stories. The more buy-in you get from management, the more successful the program will be.
- Adopt a flex policy on a small scale and measure the results. Pinpoint business problems that could be affected by flextime. Use the results to support a decision for a formal flex policy throughout the organization.