In order to stay competitive with some of the other companies in your industry, you have decided to implement a flexible work policy. But before you send out a memo—and send all of your employees packing to work in home offices—you should know that the world of flexible work is vast and varies from company to company (and sometimes, from employee to employee). Here are four types of work flexibility to consider for your employees.
Simply put, telecommuting allows employees to work remotely. Oftentimes, this means they’ll be working from home offices, but in theory, they could really work anywhere, from a beach to a coworking space or even their local coffee house. Telecommuting can be either full-time or part-time, as dictated by the job.
Pros of Telecommuting
If you thought telecommuting only benefitted your employee, think again. While it’s true that telecommuters can save on time (i.e., not having to commute into an office each day) and money (i.e., not having to shell out money for said commute, or other expenses that go along with office life, such as office attire and lunches, parking, and so on), it’s really the employers who stand to gain so much more from having a telecommuting staff. For starters, there’s a substantial amount of money saved per telecommuting employee (upwards of $11,000) in saved office space, computer equipment, electricity costs, etc. But really, the savings come from having a more productive workforce (studies show that remote workers are far more productive than traditional office workers), a reduced turnover rate, and being able to hire the best talent for the job, regardless of location.
Cons of Telecommuting
There is a learning curve when it comes to having a telecommuting staff, but once you do, you’ll see that having a remote workforce is an easy way of doing business. Also, for employers who are used to having face-to-face interaction with their workers, not being able to see them (or feel that they can track their every move) might be a bit disconcerting. But by putting progress tools in place, you’ll see that having a bunch of bodies in the office is one thing—and having a productive remote workforce is quite the other.
Allowing employees to have a flexible schedule means they can start and stop their day when they need to, based upon the needs of their day on both a personal and professional level. Workers can have flexible schedules both in the office and remotely.
Pros of Flexible Scheduling
Let’s face it: your employees have a life outside of work. Maybe they’re parents, or they might be caring for an aging parent. Maybe they have a disability that makes commuting into and out of an office every day difficult. A flexible schedule allows them to work but still take care of personal issues that might otherwise impact their work performance—and make them miss work.
Cons of Flexible Scheduling
Sure, it’s easy when all of your employees show up at 9:00 on the dot and leave at 5:00 p.m. sharp. But when you have one worker coming in late Tuesdays and Fridays because she has to take her mom to a recurring doctor’s appointment, and another worker who leaves early each day to catch the train—and avoid a crushing commute—it can be tricky to remember all those dates and schedules. By having clear communication—and writing everything down—you can ensure your team will stay productive, whether they’re in the office or not.
A part-time schedule is when an employee works between 30-35 hours a week or less. Part-time workers might be responsible for just one part-time job, or two part-time workers may work together as part of a job share and split the duties of one full-time position.
Pros of Part-Time Hours
Having part-time workers is quickly becoming the way many people prefer to work in the future. Many workers are no longer looking for one 9-5 job to fulfill their passion and earn a paycheck; job seekers are now looking to find a few part-time jobs to pay the bills and do what they love. Offering part-time work means you’ll get to harness the potential of these workers who are looking specifically for that type of work schedule.
Cons of Part-Time Hours
If you have many part-time workers, your chances for turnover might be slightly higher. It can also mean having to train new people on a more frequent basis, which is an investment in time and money.
Freelance workers typically are hired for project-specific assignments. That said, they might also be brought on for full-time, part-time, or seasonal work.
Pros of Freelancers
Hiring freelancers is a popular way of doing business for both brick-and-mortar businesses and remote companies. Contracting specific workers to work on specific projects for a specific amount of time means you’ll get the job done by an expert when you need them, saving the company money by not having to bring on a permanent worker.
Cons of Freelancers
More often than not, freelancers work remotely, so if you want to have that close connection with them, chances are it won’t happen. Plus, freelancers often juggle multiple projects at the same time, so making sure yours gets done first needs to be clear during the hiring process.
What work flexibility works for your team?
Many companies are making the move towards implementing work flexibility into their business practices. Understanding what flex works best for your company will help guide you towards making the right decision that makes sense—in dollars and cents.