Is Flextime Right for Your Small Business?
Flextime involves allowing your small business staff to work more accommodating schedules, instead of the traditional 9-5. This lets your team meet obligations outside of work more easily.
The decision of whether to offer flextime comes down to what works best for your business. If your business relies on employees interacting with customers during certain times of the day, it might not work for your company. If variable schedules could work for your business, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s right for you. If you choose to offer it, you’ll then need to decide how you want to implement it.
Benefits of offering flextime
There are many benefits to allowing flexible work arrangements, including:
- ability to retain talented employees and decrease turnover
- your employees will be happier, so they’ll be more productive
- less employee absenteeism due to unplanned absences
- boosting efficiency because your team can work during their peak productivity hours
Besides being beneficial to you, flextime can also be great for your workers because they can have a better work-life balance. They may have personal conflicts that are hard to juggle during the typical workweek, such as arranging childcare, planning doctors’ appointments, or taking continuing education courses. By being able to have a more accommodating schedule, they would be able to handle their personal and professional responsibilities with less stress.
Issues with offering flextime
Unfortunately, some challenges come with being more flexible.
- It can be more difficult to schedule your staff. If you still need to be operating at full capacity during peak hours, you might have to be more creative. Read also: How to Schedule Your Employees
- Because not everyone works at the same time, it can be more challenging to organize 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 does flextime work?
If you choose to offer flexible work schedules, you have several options.
- You might allow your team to work 10 hours a day, four days a week, and have three days off.
- Your staff could have every other Friday off. If you still want them to work 80 hours over two weeks, you might have them work nine hours Monday through Thursday, then eight hours every other Friday. This might work best if your team is exempt from overtime.
- You might offer flexible start and end times. For example, an employee could start work anytime between 6 and 10 AM and leave anytime between 3 and 7 PM, as long as they work eight hours each day.
- Your team can work whenever they want, including nights and weekends, as long as they work 40 hours each week.
4 tips for implementing flextime
If you decide to offer flexible work schedules, try these four tips to ensure it runs smoothly.
- Determine who’s eligible. You don’t have to offer flextime to everyone on your team. Instead, you might choose to give the option only to your full-time staff or only to people exempt from overtime. Or, it might only be available during certain times of the year or after a worker finishes a short probation period.
- Set expectations. After you’ve determined who can utilize flextime, talk to each eligible team member about their goals and what they need to accomplish each week, regardless of when they work. You can also explain if you need them at work during core hours. For example, you might require your entire team to be in the office from 10 AM to 1 PM every day to make scheduling meetings easier.
- Discuss communication. Because communicating with your team can be more difficult when everyone is working at different times, talk about it upfront. Let your team know if you expect them to respond to emails and IMs within a certain timeframe during core business hours. And, make sure they know that their schedules aren’t a free-for-all – they still need to communicate to you when they’ll be at work each week.
- Formalize your policy. Finally, put your flextime policy in writing and include it in your employee handbook. This will give your team something to review if they have questions and ensure that you’re always fair and not playing favorites. Read also: 9 Tips on How to Write Your First Employee Handbook