As an employer, do you value employees who are willing to work after hours to get the job done? How about an employee who doesn’t mind covering the phones for a coworker leaving early for a doctor’s appointment? Isn’t it a relief when an employee offers to make last minute revisions to a document the client needs asap? Among other positive adjectives, you would probably describe this type of employee as “flexible.” The workplace is a two-way street. Just as you value flexible employees, employees value a flexible workplace.
What is an FWA?
An FWA is a flexible work arrangement. Simply put, workplace flexibility allows employees some control over where, when and how they work. Allowing flexibility is a sign that you trust employees and want them to have a healthy work-life balance. Research shows flexible work environments can increase employee morale and engagement and reduce sick days and turnover.
Some Common FWAs
Flexible Work Hours
Allowing employees to decide the best time for arriving and leaving the office as long as they put in a full days’ work alleviates the stress of a long commute and is better for the environment by reducing gas consumption. An employee with a long commute is better served by possibly leaving after rush hour each day. The end result is less time in the car and more time engaging in productive work.
This type of flexible work arrangement is when two employees work part-time to complete the work of one full-time employee. Job sharing can be particularly helpful to employees with dependents at home who need their care. In some cases an employer can save on benefit expenses by implementing job sharing. Vacations and other time off doesn’t present as much of an issue when two employees know a job and its requirements.
This arrangement allows an employee to work from home or another satellite location like a library close to home instead of going into the office on a regular basis. The employee may go into the office for staff and other meetings but usually relies on technology to communicate with coworkers. Telecommuting puts the employee in control of work hours and location providing flexibility to balance work and personal obligations. Employers may save money on office space rent and other office expenses.
This alternative work arrangement reduces a standard workweek to fewer than five days with employees making up the full number of hours per week by working longer hours each day. For example, an employee may work four 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and take Fridays off, giving the employee a three-day weekend every week. This could be the perfect arrangement for some employees who prefer working after hours when things are quiet at the office and who benefit from “recharging” with a three-day weekend each week.
Get Flexible or Get Left Behind
In a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) organizations were asked about changes in FWAs and specifically about telecommuting. Overwhelmingly, the majority of organizational respondents stated it was somewhat or very likely that FWAs (89%) and telecommuting (83%) would be more commonplace in five years. 48% of these organizations stated it was somewhat or very likely that FWAs would be available to a larger proportion of their organization’s workforce in five years, while 39% indicated it was somewhat or very likely that a larger proportion of their organization’s workforce would be telecommuting.
Be Strategic and Contact Smart HR
When it comes to FWAs, the sky’s the limit. There are innumerable ways you can adjust and tweak your workplace to accommodate the specific needs of your employees and enhance your workplace culture. However, any change that affects your culture must be carefully and thoughtfully researched, planned and executed. The consultants at Smart HR have the expertise and knowledge to help you identify FWAs that would work for your organization and can help you with plan design and implementation. Call Smart HR today for more information.