A recent survey by O.C. Tanner Institute found that “89% of employers think employees leave because of money when only 12% actually do.”
This points to a disparity between what employers believe their people want and what employees actually want. Today, your people – and prospective recruits – place a premium on working for companies that accommodate their lifestyle preferences and respect their personal commitments.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of flexible working from all angles and consider how it can deliver a win-win outcome for your teams and your business.
Let’s start with the basics: What do we mean by a flexible work schedule? Many people associate the term with remote or telecommuting arrangements. However, there are certain industries – like retail, hospitality, and healthcare – where remote working is simply not an option.
There are plenty of other ways to offer your teams workplace flexibility other than allowing them to work from home. So, let’s take a closer look at the various types of flexible working.
In days gone by, shift work was associated with industrial or manufacturing environments, given the 24/7 nature of these operations and the need to maximize resource productivity. But with the advent of our “always-on” digital economy, shift work is now common in the restaurant, call center, and retail environments. People employed in this capacity are often required to work shifts of up to 12 hours.
Offering part-time work is a sensible option if you have high-performing employees who are simply unable to commit to a full-time role or regular shifts due to other personal or work-related commitments.
In this arrangement, employers allow their people to work longer days and take an extra day off. For instance, an employee might work a 10-hour shift from Monday to Thursday and then take Friday off.
As we touched on earlier, remote work involves allowing people to work from home some or all of the time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this model came to the forefront and has established itself as part of the “new working normal.” Some businesses allow their employees to work remotely full-time while others implement a hybrid model. This may be realistic for some workplaces and not for others. For instance, call center employees may be able to work remotely, whereas QSR employees could not.
In a job-sharing model, two employees share the tasks and responsibilities of a single full-time role. Each person works part-time, but they’re collectively accountable for meeting the expectations of the role. The job-sharing partners need to be highly compatible and equally motivated for this arrangement to work.
There are compelling reasons to accommodate flexible working arrangements in your business – let’s explore these from the perspective of both your employees and your bottom line.
Workers are re-evaluating their priorities. A new survey reveals that one-third of workers who switched jobs during the pandemic took a pay cut to prioritize a better work-life balance. Some struggle to balance family commitments with their work obligations; others have other passions or hobbies that they wish to pursue. Some just aren’t prepared to commit to one particular job in a full-time capacity. Introducing more flexible working arrangements that allow people a better work-life balance makes good business sense in our current tight labor market.
Feeling valued is important in any human relationship – including the employee-employer one. People who don’t feel valued at work are often looking for a new job. If you give your people the option of working more agreeable schedules, they’ll feel more valued and reciprocate by being more loyal and working harder. Affording people work flexibility also sends them a message that you trust them, which is good for overall employee engagement and morale.
The importance of physical and mental health cannot be overstated, but high-stress levels are rife in many workplaces. More than half of full-time U.S. workers who participated in a recent Qualtrics survey said their job was the main source of their mental health challenges, and 36% said the flexibility to work whenever and wherever would impact their mental health positively. Offering flexible work schedules will reduce the prevalence of stress and burnout in your organization and give people a sense that they’re taking control of their health and well-being decisions.
Many people – particularly millennials and Gen Z – want to learn and grow while they’re on the job. Companies that offer flexible scheduling options coupled with employee training and development opportunities will likely be more successful in recruiting younger talent.
Offering employees a flexible work schedule opens up a wider talent pool to fill new roles. Being open to hiring employees who can only work part-time or would like their shifts to be flexible so they can attend to personal matters or other obligations will make you stand out.
Following the previous point, not only will people be drawn to companies that offer workplace flexibility, but they’ll also be more inclined to stay with them for the long haul. This can help prevent staff turnover and the significant costs of replacing employees.
When employees can work when and where they please, employers can realize increased productivity. According to a recent study by Garner, over 40% of employees claim to be more productive when working flexible hours.
Employee engagement describes employees who are committed to their work and genuinely invested in furthering the company’s goals – and not just because they’re getting a paycheck. On the flip side, it’s estimated that disengaged employees cost U.S. employers $450 to 500 billion every year in the form of absenteeism, turnover, and lost productivity. Right now, employees worldwide are undergoing an engagement crisis, so employers need to work harder and adjust their environment to keep employees engaged. Offering flexible scheduling is a great place to start.
Today, overly strict hours can be bad for business simply because they tend to be bad for employees’ overall happiness and well-being.
At Payactiv, we understand that the ability to work a more flexible schedule has risen to the top of many employees’ wish lists, and we’ve designed our services around this imperative. We make it easy for employers to implement an effective and sustainable plan that gives people the flexibility they value.
Flexibility can be implemented in two ways. The first way is through pay flexibility. Our Earned Wage Access (EWA) service allows people to access wages they’ve already earned but not yet been paid. This is particularly appealing to hourly workers who often live paycheck to paycheck. It eliminates the need to borrow cash from friends and family or approach unsecured lenders.
The second way is shift scheduling flexibility. Payactiv Connect, a communication and engagement platform, grants your employees access to your shift management system using their smartphone, so they can see their shifts pick up new ones. This is helpful for employees should they suddenly find themselves in a tight spot if an unforeseen personal commitment or health issue crops up. It also allows people to pick up additional shifts from time to time if they’re looking for a little extra cash in their pocket.
Whether you implement EWA or Payactiv Connect, both have proven widely coveted and critical to today’s workforce. Learn more about Payactiv here and find out how we can help you achieve the flexible workplace your employees and candidates are seeking.
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