The benefits of flexible work arrangements are plentiful. Statistics show the positive impact they have on everything from productivity to a company’s ability to attract and retain talent. But, what if you’re a small business with a smaller set of employees? Are flexible work arrangements still possible?
The answer is, “Yes.” There are many kinds of flexible work arrangement scenarios. And, if they are going to work well for all involved, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve set and implemented clear policies.
What kind of arrangements are “flexible”?
“Flexible work arrangements” have many iterations, including one or two you may not have heard before:
- Fully or partially remote telecommuting
- Compressed work weeks, where in-office hours vary, such as working four 10-hour shifts, rather than five eight-hour days
- Alternate daily schedules, such as 8am-4pm, rather than 9am-5pm
- Job sharing teams of two employees performing one job
- Results Only Work Environments (ROWE) that prioritize results over hours worked
- Unlimited vacation time packages
What are the benefits for small businesses?
In 2018, Zenefits, the HR management software services company, surveyed hundreds of small businesses–companies with 500 or fewer employees—and found that:
- 67% of small businesses offer some form of flexible work arrangements. This category can be broad, but shows that even small businesses are trying to provide more flexibility to their talent.
- 73% of employees said flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work and 78% of employees said flexible work arrangements made them more productive. It’s worth repeating: Employees believe they are more satisfied and more productive thanks to flexibility.
- 77% of employees consider flexible work arrangements a major consideration when evaluating future job opportunities.
- 36% of employees are likely to leave their current employer due to a lack of flexible work arrangements.
And, most importantly:
- 20% of full-time employees lack tools to make using flexible work arrangements easy and productive and 53% of employees say there’s no official flexible work policy in place. This seems to indicate that a lack of tools and/or an official policy might could be a big problem when it comes to ensuring proper use.
What should a policy include?
Many businesses question what it takes to put together a successful flexible work schedule. It isn’t just trusting employees to do what’s expected, the company should have good support systems, processes, and technology in place. Some aspects to consider adding to your policy are:
- Activity, performance and communication expectations should be made clear, and apply no matter when or where employees are working.
- Agree to a weekly or monthly work schedule with deadlines.
- Emphasize that teamwork is still expected, which means that attendance at meetings, events, training, and the like is still mandatory.
- Utilize collaboration tools and software that help ensure teamwork rather than silos. From webcams to project management software, what will make your team able to get things done even if they aren’t in the same room at the same time?
- Take note of any positive developments in sales, productivity, and accomplishments. If flexibility was a contributing factor, celebrate and promote the correlation.
Flexible work arrangements can become part of your culture, help a company become a well-oiled machine, and feel like a close-knit family. If you have questions about payroll, employee status and benefit status for these workers, contact us today.
“Why Top Companies Are Ditching the 9-to-5 for Flexible Working Arrangements” by Sarah Rickerd
“7 Big Statistics About the State of Flexible Work Arrangements” By Jesse Noyes, 7/11/18
“Practical tips for making flexible working work” by Viola Lloyd, 8/5/16