What is a Flex Schedule and Why is it Beneficial to Your Company?

Offering a flex schedule is an excellent way to help recruit top talent and retain high performing employees. While many employees seek more flexibility in their schedules, companies that offer this perk can also appeal to candidates with outside obligations—such as childcare or supplemental employment—that may prevent them from committing to strict working hours. By developing a flex schedule policy, you can attract more high-quality candidates and generate higher rates of satisfaction among existing employees.
 

Here are some useful tips and information to help you create a policy that boosts recruiting and retention efforts without negatively impacting performance.
 

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What is a flex schedule?

A flex schedule allows employees to work outside traditional hours during the times that are most convenient for them, or when they feel they’re most productive. While many flex schedule arrangements require employees to complete a minimum number of hours each week or work a percentage of their time during traditional hours, they’re also able to build a schedule around other commitments and achieve a better work-life balance.
 

In addition to flexible hours, flex schedules also encompasses telecommuting, which allows employees to work from their home or another remote location during some or all of their shifts.
 

Types of flex schedules

There are four popular types of flexible work schedules you may choose to offer your employees:
 

    1. Flexible time
      In this arrangement, employees are welcome to come and go from the workplace as they please, so long as they meet a minimum number of hours per day or week, and are available for specific events, like meetings. In some cases, employers set “core hours,” or times during the day or week when they require all employees to be on site.
       For example, an employer may require all employees to be in the workplace from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but allow them to work the rest of their shift whenever they’d like. That way, those who prefer an early schedule might decide to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. while employees who feel more productive later in the day may choose a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule.

 

    1. Telecommuting
      Also called a work-from-home (WFH) policy or remote work policy, telecommuting offers employees the freedom to work from any location, so long as they can access the technology necessary for their job duties. Some employers allow employees to work from home as little or as often as they’d like while others require at least some time on premises.
       For example, an employer may require all employees to work in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but allow them to work remotely throughout the remainder of the week.

 

    1. Part-time
      Offering part-time work allows you to source talented professionals who are unable to commit to a 40-hour work week. This is an ideal arrangement for employers who need assistance covering certain responsibilities, but don’t have enough work available to necessitate a full-time employee.
       In other cases, employers may hire two or three different part-time employees to cover a full-time role. For example, one employee may cover the first half of the week while another employee works for the second half.

 

  1. Compressed workweek
    In a compressed workweek setup, employees work longer shifts in exchange for fewer working days. In a traditional 40-hour, Monday – Friday workplace, compressed workweeks usually allow employees to have some or all Fridays off.
     For example, instead of working five eight-hour days per week, employees might work four ten-hour days.
     

    Employers may also choose to offer this as a seasonal perk during the summer months (often called “Summer Fridays”) when many employees are already requesting vacation time.

 

Keep in mind, you can combine multiple types of flexible work schedules depending on your organizational culture and needs. For example, some companies offer both flexible time and telecommuting to maximize employees’ freedom.
 

What are the benefits of flex schedules?

Allowing your employees more freedom to choose where and when they work provides numerous benefits for your organization.
 

Here are just a few of the advantages of offering a flexible work policy:
 

    • Attract more talent
      Some highly qualified professionals may choose not to apply to jobs with companies that observe rigid work hours because they have outside obligations, such as taking children to and from school, caring for a sick loved one or working a second job. Others may be a perfect fit for your organization but live too far away to commute or come to the office during regular work hours. By removing these restrictions, you can attract even more talented professionals and grow your applicant pool.

 

    • Increase productivity
      Some people perform best in the early hours of the morning, some work best at night and others prefer to spread their work out into multiple sessions throughout the day. When employees don’t feel burdened by rush hour traffic or forced to work at times of day when they’re less efficient, productivity generally improves. Additionally, because flexible work schedules can increase employee engagement, your workforce may be more focused and dedicated during their respective work times.

 

    • Improve employee work-life balance
      Many employees struggle to manage the demands of their career while also finding time for family, friends, hobbies and self-care. This often leads to higher rates of stress and puts employees at an increased risk of burnout. When employees are overwhelmed with stress, performance and productivity suffer.

 

  • Reduce absenteeism
    When companies have strict work hours and require employees to work on-premises, it’s more difficult for employees to manage outside obligations, such as a household emergency or a sick child. If you offer employees flex schedules, they can work around those obligations. Fewer unscheduled absences mean fewer disruptions and more projects delivered on time.

 

How to make flex schedules work at your organization

Some employers may be concerned about how offering flexible work schedules will negatively impact performance and make managing employees more challenging. However, by committing to the right strategies, a flex schedule can help improve performance and strengthen the bonds between employees and their managers.
 

Here are a few things you can do to make flex schedules work for your organization:
 

    • Set clear expectations
      It’s critical you clearly communicate your boundaries and expectations before allowing employees to participate in a flex schedule program. Ensure your workforce understands how many hours they’re required to work, when you want them on premises, how often you expect them to check in with managers and the repercussions for failing to meet these expectations. When employees understand what’s expected of them and the penalties they may face if their performance slips, they’re less likely to break the rules.

 

    • Provide the right technology
      Technology is essential for success with flex work policies, especially when telecommuting is involved. It’s vital your organization chooses software that allows employees to easily communicate and collaborate no matter when and where they’re working.

 

  • Hold employees accountable
    For flexible work schedules to be successful, employees must be self-disciplined and able to work efficiently without constant supervision. In addition to ensuring your new hires are able to self-manage, it’s also important existing employees understand they’re responsible for their actions regardless of when or where they’re working. Instead of ending your flex work program because some employees are failing to get their work done on time, hold your underperformers accountable.

 

You may also choose to roll out your flexible work program over time and only allow employees to participate after they’ve completed their training period and proven they can meet performance expectations. Knowing they can earn this perk will help motivate employees to achieve their goals. However, be sure you’re upfront about this process during your hiring process as some employees may require flexibility from day one.
 

How can you use flex schedules as a recruiting tool?

Because flexible work schedules are such an attractive perk, it can be useful to promote it as part of your recruiting efforts. Here are a few ways you can mention this benefit:
 

    • Share it on your Indeed Company Page
      Job seekers often use Indeed Company Pages to learn more about employers before they apply to an open position. Be sure to display information about your flexible schedule program to help encourage interested professionals to apply.

 

    • Add it to job descriptions
      Including this enticing perk in your job descriptions will help you inspire qualified professionals to complete the application process.

 

    • List it as a benefit on your company’s careers page
      If you have a careers page on your company website, be sure to include your flexible work policy alongside your other attractive perks. If your organization has a social media presence, you may want to consider sharing it there, too.

 

  • Discuss it during screenings and interviews
    Be upfront about your flexible work policy throughout the hiring process. While many professionals are already familiar with flex schedules, it’s helpful to explain how it works at your organization as well as the many advantages it offers.

 

As flex schedules become more common, job seekers will become more likely to consider this benefit when weighing their employment options. By offering employees this level of freedom and autonomy, you can increase engagement, productivity and retention while also capturing the interest of top talent in your industry.
 

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