Should I Offer Flextime or Telecommuting?

Should I Offer Flextime or Telecommuting?

A good work-life balance is increasingly important to employees. You can help your employees achieve that balance by offering flextime or allowing them to work from home. By offering one (or both) of these, you’ll be able to hire the best possible talent and build a loyal workforce.

Flextime

If you offer flextime to your employees, you’re letting them work more flexible hours – instead of the traditional 9 to 5. This allows your employees to meet other obligations outside of work.

Options

If you choose to offer flextime to your employees, you have several options. The option, or options, you choose will depend on what works best for your business.

  • Employees come in earlier or later than everyone else. For example, if your standard schedule is 8 to 5, you can allow employees to work 7 to 4 or 9 to 6, instead. Employees can choose what time to come in based on what would work best for their family or personal situation.
  • You can give employees every other Friday off. They’d work five days one week, but only 4 the next.
  • Your employees can get a 3-day weekend every weekend. Instead of working eight hours a day, they could work 10 hours a day, four days a week.
  • If your business is seasonal, shorten the hours worked during your slow season. For example, if you’re an accounting firm, maybe your employees are working 50+ hours a week during tax season. To make up for that, let them work 30 or 35 hours a week during the slow season.
  • You could have two part-time employees share one job. One person could do the job in the mornings, then they would pass the baton to someone else in the afternoon. Basically, two part-time employees would do the job of one full-time employee.

Should I Offer Flextime?

The decision to offer flextime comes down to what works best for your business. If your business relies on your team members interacting with customers during certain times of the day, you might not be able to offer flextime. If flextime could work for your business, you will have to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s right for you.

Pros of Offering Flextime

By offering flextime, you could hire more qualified employees and have a more productive staff. Great reasons for offering flextime include:

Cons of Offering Flextime

Of course, there are also some downsides to offering flextime that you should consider:

  • It can be more difficult to schedule your staff. You’ll still have to be staffed during your business’s peak hours, so you might have to be more creative with your scheduling.
  • Because not everyone works at the same time, it will be more difficult to schedule meetings. You’ll have to choose meeting times where the majority of your staff will be at work already.
  • Communicating with your staff can become more difficult. There might be lag when answering emails or returning phone calls, which can cause issues if you have time-sensitive projects.

How to Make It Work

Don’t let the potential problems from offering flextime scare you away from trying it. You can make it work, if you have a plan.

Before you start offering flextime, sit down with each employee and clearly define their goals. Make sure the goals are specific and action-oriented so they’re easy to measure. When your employees have clearly defined goals, they’ll know what to work on, even if they get to work before you or stay after you’ve left.

If you want to make scheduling meetings easier or have peak times when you want everyone to be there, set core hours. For example, you can set your core hours from 10 to 1. Then, your employees can make their schedules however they want, as long as they’re at work during the core hours.

Work from Home

If you want to offer an even more flexible work experience for your employees, you can consider allowing them to work from home, at least occasionally.

Should I Allow My Employees to Work from Home?

Before you choose to allow your employees to work from home, you’ll have to make sure it’s practical for your business, then weigh the pros and cons to decide if it’s a good decision.

Pros of Offering Telecommuting

There are several reasons to choose to offer telecommuting for your employees:

  • If you offer telecommuting, you’ll be able to expand your talent pool because you won’t be restricted to people who can drive into the office every day. With telecommuting, you’ll be able to hire the best talent possible because it won’t matter where they live.
  • Telecommuting increases employee loyalty. Remote employees won’t be spending money on gas or waste time driving to and from the office, so they’ll enjoy working for your company and want to stick around longer.
  • If you choose to have a team that works entirely from home, it can save you a lot of money because you won’t have to rent office space or pay utilities.

Cons of Offering Telecommuting

Unfortunately, there are also some downsides to allowing your employees to telecommute.

  • When you’re hiring people to work remotely, you have to hire people you trust because it can be easy for an employee to take advantage of a work-from-home situation. They might claim they’re working because their phone is nearby and their email is open, but they might just be binging Netflix or washing dishes.
  • If only a handful of your employees work from home, they might feel left out. They can’t run into someone in the breakroom and have a quick conversation, and they won’t be invited to that last-minute lunch with the rest of their team. It can, unfortunately, bring down morale among your remote employees.

How to Make It Work

If you choose to allow your employees to work from home, there are a few steps you can take to make the experience successful.

If only a few of your team members work from home, encourage them to come into the office occasionally. This gives them opportunities to interact with their coworkers face-to-face and build relationships so they feel like they’re part of the team. If your entire team works from home, schedule regular get-togethers so you can all get to know each other better.

Discuss expectations with your remote employees up front. Let them know when they’re expected to be reachable, what their goals are, when they need to physically be in the office, and when deliverables are due.

You should also establish communication protocols right from the start. Make it clear when your remote staff should check in with you (and how to check in). You should also have a clear chain of command so remote staff knows who to reach out to with questions and problems.

Pros & Cons of Flextime & Telecommuting