TAKING FLEXTIME BEYOND PANDEMIC

TAKING FLEXTIME BEYOND PANDEMIC

May 20, 2020

Here is a fun fact. Research suggests that a shift in behavior if continued, can become a habit in 66 days. The first case of the COVID-19 outbreak can be traced back to December 2019. The lockdown started in January. Some countries have already passed the 66-day threshold, and some are about to. While governments and businesses are containing people, they know that long-term disruption is inevitable. Others oblivious to the imminent future are expecting life to be normal again and go back to work. However, as the clock ticks away, it is time we revised our definition of normal because flextime is becoming the new ‘normal’.

As people deal with uncertainty and anxiety, it is getting increasingly difficult to accommodate employees at the scheduled time. Flextime thus is the solution. Flextime is simply what the name suggests – flexible work hours. It allows an employee to start and end their shift at varying times while keeping the number of hours the same.

 

WHAT IS FLEXTIME?

Flextime can come in flexible shapes and sizes. It is like a gummy bear – stretches or squeeze it as much as you like, maybe even tear it apart, but the total material remains the same.

Think before you get creative

Flextime can be tweaked and adjusted as per your and your employees’ requirements. However, before you get onboard, ask yourself three questions. Do I need it? Can I maintain it? Does it improve my current scenario? Tick yes and you are welcome to try these formulas.

Start when you are ready

The most basic form of flextime is tweaking the daily timetable. Early birds experience their peak productivity in the morning, while night owls lighten up in the evening. Therefore, the company can introduce double shifts. Such work arrangements are ideal for less centralized small-scale companies with have fleets of students in their workforce.    

Split up

How about we split up your 8-hour work time into ratios? An employee can work an early shift in the morning and complete the rest in the evening. Such an arrangement is ideal for parents who need to look after their children or perform the basic obligations in the morning i.e. cooking, shopping, etc.

Shuffle & Reshuffle

This form of flextime questions the basic tenet of Sunday-to-Thursday work week. The employees are allowed to work any day of the week, provided they complete their 5 days a week. Such an arrangement lets employees take off the steam and break the cycle once in a while.

Compressed week

Compressed weeks let the employees squeeze their standard workload into fewer days and take the next days off. The timeframe can be set by the employees.

 

WHY FLEXTIME?

Once this pandemic is over, we will probably go back to our workplaces, but our minds will be accustomed to working from home by then. While remote work is a luxury most of us cannot afford, flextime is not.

The employee’s choice

A survey conducted by Manilla Recruitment on an international scale produced extraordinary arguments for flextime. 70% think that flextime makes a job more attractive. 30% prefer flextime over a pay-raise. 60% attribute their increased productivity to flextime. A staggering-84% consider flexibility in workspace ‘the most important’ factor in a job. We can talk numbers all day, but here is the bottom line – your employees want flexibility.  

Cut costs

Applying compressed workweek can seem like a minor change, but can have big impacts. Dell Inc., for instance, cut asset costs substantially by implementing a compressed workweek by utilizing minimum resources to produce the optimum result.  

Mental health & productivity

The director of KPMG, Barbara Wankoff reportedly attributed a positive correlation between employee satisfaction and flexible work time.  In similar reports, PwC also maintained that flextime, if applied can correctly, can lead to a happier and more productive workforce enduring less physical and mental stress. Flextime, therefore, can be seen as the ultimate spell for employers who can keep their employees satisfied with minimal efforts.

Low absenteeism, lower turnover

Ryan, a global tax firm, experienced employee turnover rate fall from 30% to 11% and revenues double in 10 years. How? If you guessed flextime, kudos. Why? The answer was provided by Northrop Grumman, a global security equipment manufacturer. Officials at NG disclosed their top HR strategy. By providing flexible work arrangements, NG recruits and can retain even the purple unicorn employees.

A wider pool

Flextime can provide you access to a wider pool of workforce and even a wider array of options to retain them. Think about the busy mothers who left their jobs to look after children. Think about busy fathers who are struggling hard to maintain his work-life balance. For them, flextime is not a fancy buzzword but a necessity.

 

HOW TO IMPLEMENT FLEXTIME?

Be sure & prepared

Adopting flextime is not an option if the nature and the structure of the company don’t allow so. If allowed, first decide on a flexible work time model. Brainstorm and be as creative as you want with your initial layout plan. The plan must be comprehensive enough to contain the tiniest details i.e. tasks to be completed, hours, supervisor, etc.  

A Common dashboard

Establish a common dashboard or a communication channel that allows seamless communication. Everyone must know when others are coming, what projects others are working in, and such relevant information. Anna McMurphy, VP of SteelHouse rightfully said that the little bit of effort of establishing flextime soon pays off if executed in the right way.

Start Small

Before rolling out the facility company-wide, a trial must be run. It should involve a sample of employees and the performances must be monitored objectively in a specific timeframe. If there is no decrease in the performance standard, or hopefully an increase, then voila! The company is tested positive to roll out its flextime facilities and is certified prepared for the drastic workforce trends in the post-corona era.

As much as we regret the losses caused by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we must acknowledge that it has pushed us to challenge the status quo and drive toward innovative business practices. Companies must use this opportunity to address their inefficiencies in these times of adversities and grow, or otherwise – as George Land said – die. 

 

Written by

Sibbir Riyan

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