Once you’ve decided to offer flexible work options for your staff, what’s next? Flexible work arrangements are not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there are nine types of flexible work arrangements.
Flextime involves giving staff flexibility on the start and finish times of their working day, typically with a mandatory “core” time in the middle of the day.
Compressed Work Week
A compressed work week allows employees to work 40 hours in fewer than five days, such as working four 10-hour days.
Flexplace is often referred to as telecommuting. Employees may work from home or another remote location on an approved schedule, either for a certain number of hours or days a week, or 100% of the time.
In job sharing, two or more employees split one position and split necessary work hours between them.
Often used by companies as a method of avoiding layoffs. The company temporarily reduces hours and salary for a portion of the staff while maintaining the number of employees.
Expanded leave gives employees greater flexibility for requesting extended periods of time away from work without losing their rights as employees. Extended leave can be granted on a paid or unpaid basis and may be used for a variety of reasons, including sabbaticals, higher education, community service, family issues, or medical care.
The employee and the firm agree on a schedule to gradually reduce the employee’s full-time work commitments. Their responsibilities may be phased out over a period of months or years.
Older employees are allowed to continue working on a part-time basis, with no predetermined end date.
Work and Family Programs
Employers provide some assistance to their employees to help with child care and elder care, such as on-site childcare facilities.
Choosing the flexible work arrangement(s) that work for your firm can seem tricky, but taking a systematic approach to implementing your program can narrow down the list of options that will most benefit your firm and employees. Consider using a focus group or a sample survey to figure out which options your staff needs. You may even consider a pilot program to test your options and see if the program needs tweaking.
Remember that flexibility doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing program. It can be a gradual process. Chances are, you’re already providing some informal, flexible work arrangements for certain employees who need to leave early on certain days or work from home on occasion. Now, you just need to take the next step to formalize the policy and extend it to all staff members.
About the Author
As a consultant for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Arianna Campbell helps accounting firms challenge the status quo by leading process improvement initiatives that result in increased profitability and client satisfaction. She also facilitates the development and cultivation of future firm leaders in The P3 Leadership Academy™ Academy. Internally, she blends concepts from Lean Six Sigma and leadership development to drive innovation and continuous improvement within the company. Arianna also enjoys the opportunity to share knowledge through regular contributions to the Boomer Bulletin and other industry wide publications, as well as public speaking at industry conferences.