How many organizations see people sitting at their desks, idly watching the time pass, waiting until that magical 5 o’clock hour so that they can clock out and go home? This isn’t effective, or efficient, for anyone. It’s a waste of time and resources, honestly, and if the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that resources need to be agile and lean to keep up with the constantly changing digital workspace.

Getting Rid of the “9 to 5” with Remote Work: Does Flexible Scheduling Suit Your Organization?

How to Determine Working Hours

In the past, it made sense for teams to work the same hours and share the same space—they had few other ways to keep in touch and deliver a continuous experience. Today, however, digital technology has changed the way that everything works, including how many different ways companies and employees can engage with each other remotely. So, if not a standard schedule, then how does an organization go about determining the right working hours or flexible scheduling strategy?

Think about what works for the organization. Consider each and every role. You might have some that are required to make the typical “9 to 5” appearance simply because of the work they do (customer service agents, sales reps, etc.). However, most organizations also have people who could benefit from flexible scheduling, as well as roles that don’t really require a set schedule.

Take the time to consider all the options and how you want to proceed with flexible scheduling. If you’d like, test it out on a few positions first and see how it goes. Most organizations are finding that not only are people not having productivity problems, but they’re actually performing better when they’re given some choice and flexibility in their working hours.

Should Your Organization Make a Change?

The next question from companies is whether they should consider a change or not. If you’ve done your homework as suggested above, you’ll have a lot of proof either way—use that proof to determine the next best steps. Perhaps you’ll decide that customer service reps have to work an 8-hour shift, but it can be flexible in start and end times to a certain degree. For the sales reps, a little more flexibility is allowed, so long as they can make meetings and meet sales quotas. And then, for your visual and written content creators, you might offer total flexibility in scheduling with a salaried role where they are simply tasked with getting their work done and attending necessary meetings, training, etc.

Think about whether this makes sense for your organization. More companies are finding that when they trust people to do their jobs, a funny thing happens: they do their jobs. That level of trust is changing the way everyone thinks about work, and the pandemic has given organizations plenty of reason to consider making a change.

Have a Trial Run

Perhaps the organization or its stakeholders aren’t quite sure about the outcomes or practicality of changing to a flexible scheduling model. That’s understandable—new things are scary. However, when it can save time and effort, improve employee retention and engagement, and allow people to take more ownership over their roles, it’s worth considering.

The best thing to do is to have a trial run. Come up with a flexible scheduling strategy or alternative schedule that sounds like it could work for the organization and then implement it on a trial basis. Some organizations will try the new scheduling option out on a few roles, or a certain department first. This makes it easy to work out the kinks without having to switch everyone over and then switch back if things don’t work out.

Flexible scheduling is gaining popularity in several organizations and industries. Where it’s possible, it will prove to increase productivity and employee morale across the board, among other things.

Consider Which Roles Could Benefit from Schedule Freedom

In many organizations, it’s less about whether this works for everyone and more about who it could work for. Take the creative team, for example—do your content writers and videographers need to be sitting on the clock during “regular business hours?” Or could you afford to give them more flexibility in their scheduling, thereby saving everyone’s time and resources?

It’s not a transition that every organization can make. It’s certainly not the “right way” for everyone. However, it’s something to think about that could improve resources and allow people to self-manage. Plus, when they’re given that type of freedom, they will generally return the favor by working harder and doing a better job when they are working, because they know they’re not just trying to eat up time.

The Future Lies in Personalized Positions

Flex scheduling has been a hot topic for decades. Although many employers balk at the idea, others have embraced it and seen great success because of their adoption. No longer can employers lump their employees together into one massive group of people who are scheduled to show up and work from this hour until that hour and call it a day. Even if it’s just the flexibility of the eight-hour shift, a change is happening and it’s happening now.

Employees are demanding personalized positions and roles within the organization. They’re anticipating organizations that have a culture that promotes autonomy and collaboration at once, ensuring that individual needs are factored into the role at hand. While a CSR might need to be on the clock from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take calls, your IT team might do better to work off-hours or even keep their own schedules, so long as their work gets done.

It’s less about revisiting the traditional schedule and more about taking a personalized approach to every role within the organization. This is what will lead companies into the future and give them employees that are engaged, loyal, and ready to help the organization succeed in as many ways as possible. When organizations cater to the unique needs of employees, they may even find skills they hadn’t anticipated—the question isn’t if you need to change, but when. And the answer is now. If you would like to improve your employee engagement and retain top talent, contact us today for a free consultation!

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