Female office worker relaxing at deskIt’s no secret that most (if not all) employees want that oh so important work-life balance. Everyone wants some degree of flexibility when it comes to their place of employment. Why?

Well, having flexibility helps workers adequately balance their personal and professional lives. We all know how much of workaholics Americans can be and having a less flexible professional life and career is often the root of that. A great deal of people are so busy with work and have so many job-related responsibilities and duties (which are often all on strict deadlines) that they cannot efficiently complete all these tasks in a single eight-hour day, let alone a 40-hour week. So, what happens? Their ‘outside of work time’ turns into work time.

So, how can you as an employer help? Well, why not consider adding a bit more flexibility to your company and its practices? Besides, having workplace flexibility not only positively affects your workers; it benefits the entire organization (and you) as well.

Studies have shown that flexible work environments:

-Increase employee engagement and morale

-Decreases employee turnover, which increases retention rates

-Boosts productivity

If you’re considering adding more flexibility into your organization’s structure, below are just four of the ways to do just that:

Pay-for-performance model

Although most people have cell phones that are under contracts, tracfones where users “pay as you go” still exist. Depending on how much money you put toward minutes for the phone will determine how much available time you receive. If you pay for 100 minutes, you only get to talk for 100 minutes. Once the minutes run out and you don’t add anymore, you lose the ability to talk. You’re paying for performance.

The same is true for freelancers and contractors. Companies (and people) hire freelancers for a specific task. Once the task is complete, he or she is paid for the work. Even if the worker is paid hourly, he or she is still only being paid by the hour for a certain amount of work to be performed.

Companies can adopt this pay for performance model to add flexibility with employees. One of the main issues workers face when it comes to work-life balance is their schedules. Pay-for-performance models eliminate traditional 9am-5pm schedules and take the emphasis off time and put it on quality of work.

Perhaps an employee doesn’t need to sit behind a desk for eight hours to complete an assignment. Or perhaps he or she is independent enough to work from home. Paying for performance versus paying for the number of hours worked is a great way to ensure work is actually being completed, which will benefit your entire organization.

Work-from-home option

If you’re not comfortable with completely eliminating your workers’ schedules, why not give them a day or two away from the office? Adding a work-from-home option for one or two days during the work week will help give an employee balance. This will reduce the worker’s commute time during the overall week, give him/her a day “to rest’ in the sense of not waking up as early, getting dressed, etc. This will also give the worker a change of environment during the week, which is always helpful and refreshing.

Flextime

Why not consider allowing employees to make their own schedules? You can give workers a standard range that the hours must fall within (for example, workers cannot make a 5am-1pm schedule if your building doesn’t open until 7am) and then let the employees decide when they will begin and end their work days. If you want to really be flexible, you can give the option of flextime days where the employee works a different schedule on different days.

I would limit this option to two different schedules per week (for example, Mondays and Wednesdays are schedule 1 and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays are schedule 2) because having different schedules for each day of the week can cause confusion and lead to unproductiveness.

Compressed workweek

A compressed workweek gives workers an alternative to the traditional five 8-hour day workweek. This means working longer hours (per day) for a shorter amount of days.

For example, my family member worked at Amazon’s distribution center on a compressed workweek schedule. He would work four 10-hour days, which obviously equates to a 40-hour workweek.

Adding this option will give workers an extra day off, which most people would be happy to have. Yet, this type of option will only work if your establishment is one that allows for extended work hours. A newspaper company could do this because most reporters work around the clock. Yet, this option wouldn’t work as well for a sandwich shop (located downtown) where 1) it closes at 4pm each day and 2) its business and location is based off a specific time of day (lunch hour).



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