Why Employers Should Embrace Flexible Scheduling

Flexible Scheduling

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 2007 when I was offered a job from a family friend working at their new business that did subcontract work for a commercial printer’s ink provider.  I was hired to do one thing that I love: paint. Unfortunately, I wasn’t painting pretty pictures, landscapes, or for fun. I was painting large ink totes. “What’s an ink tote?” you may ask.  Imagine a 7-foot-high steel drum that is 12 feet in circumference. These totes held thousands of pounds of printer’s ink and it was my responsibility to ensure they had the proper labeling, fresh paint, pressure, and most importantly, staged for an on-time departure. As you can imagine, painting quickly lost its luster for me. On the flipside, this job is what helped sustain me as I started college that fall.

One of the greatest parts of the job was I somehow negotiated a deal that allowed me to come and go as I pleased. Little did I know at the time that I was working the now popular term: a flexible schedule.

Download Now: Modernizing Scheduling Profile [Free Resource]

What is flexible scheduling?   

Flexible scheduling has become an increasingly popular approach in the modern workforce. This type of scheduling method allows employees to have greater control over their work schedules and allows them to be successful beyond the work. And it allows organizations to support their people and meet production requirements. 

In this post, I’ll focus on some key areas that you should consider adapting in your workplace to help overcome some of the workforce challenges you may be facing.

Three benefits of flexible scheduling  

1. Flexible scheduling accommodates employee needs when utilizing their most precious asset, time.

Have you asked yourself, “When do I do my best work? At what time of day am I most productive?” These questions have become a necessity ensuring the highest levels of productivity. In the simplest approach, you may allow employees to work remote. For the advanced group, you might allow employees to create their own schedules. Although it seems scary, with proper technology we can utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify the needs and output of our workers. In fact, at the source, this is what companies are always trying to solve for when hiring and moving frontline workers from their current shift to others to meet demand. 

Flexible scheduling gives us an opportunity to provide employees with more autonomy and control over their schedules, so they are better able to balance their personal and professional lives.

By adding an additional layer to this, flexible scheduling gives us an opportunity to provide employees with more autonomy and control over their schedules, so they are better able to balance their personal and professional lives. Think about it: When we, as employees, have more control over our schedules, the likelihood of production and engagement will skyrocket. I know that was the case for me back in 2007.

The identity of productivity is hindered by distraction. Whether it’s personal distraction or workplace distraction, finding the equilibrium of the why behind an employee’s work and when they’d like to do so will help minimize that disruption.

2. Flexible scheduling can help limit layoffs.

During times of economic uncertainty or when companies are facing financial difficulties, flexible scheduling can be a valuable tool for managing labor and labor costs. Rather than laying off employees, companies can reduce employee hours or allow employees to work on a flexible schedule. 

When done appropriately, flexible scheduling can help employers avoid layoffs by creating a more agile workforce by meeting employees where they’re at. By allowing employees to work on a flexible schedule, employers can more easily adjust to changes in demand while potentially avoiding the need to lay off employees. Attrition destroys the bottom line. So much so that recent studies show that it can cost upwards of 1.5-2x the employee’s salary. The goal? Allow your organization to curate and operate a lean(er) labor model to avoid expensive overtime, burnout, and attrition.

3. Flexible scheduling directly contributes to positive company culture.

When was the last time you had a day to yourself? If you’re like me, you planned to accomplish certain things. Whether it be rest, relaxation, or the to-do list you’ve been putting off for months, deep down you appreciate the fact that the day was in your control. And if I guess right, at the end of the day you felt fulfilled. Why? Because you had balance and the freedom to choose what you wanted or needed to accomplish. Isn’t it the same in the workplace?

When employees are given more autonomy and control over their schedules, they feel more valued and appreciated by their employer. Flexible scheduling shows that the employer trusts the employee to manage work and life empowering the employee to be successful in and out of the workplace. This leads to a more positive work environment and can help create a culture of respect. By allowing employees to work on a schedule that accommodates their needs, employers can better accommodate the needs of employees from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. Through artificial intelligence, organizations can now ensure equitable scheduling.  This can limit the backdoor deals between employees and managers for more hours to receive overtime pay, highlight areas of improvement, and provide insight to keep more people working.

The key to flexible scheduling  

Employee communication is the key for flexible scheduling to be successful. Employers should provide clear guidelines and expectations for employees who intend on working a flexible schedule. At which point, it’s our responsibility to provide the employee with the necessary tools to get the job done. Ask yourself, “Do employees have what they need to be successful?” If not, we can assume with near certainty a culture “dip,” lower productivity, and less engagement.  

The defining moments of workplace success rely upon the delicate balance of life and work. 

The defining moments of workplace success rely upon the delicate balance of life and work. Recognizing that artificial intelligence and flexible scheduling working together can do what I shared above, will give you a competitive edge in this labor participation shortage. Redefine your culture by empowering employees to take care of themselves first and working at their most productive times.

For those of you curious, back in the day when I was a painter, we did not have automation to drop or swap shifts with other workers. I witnessed countless days where my colleagues would have “life” happen; sick kid, broken down car, scheduling mishap with their second job, etc.  They essentially had two options to respond: Take a vacation day or no show the shift for no pay, without the ability to make it up later. I witnessed unbelievable turnover because of the limitation in scheduling. Use this as an opportunity to be intentional with your people by putting them first.

Download Now: Modernizing Scheduling Profile [Free Resource]