Like I explained in the about section, I grew up in Nigeria and I also had the opportunity to work in the country for some time. Most of the jobs available in the country were full-time jobs, so you can imagine how excited I was to realize that I could study and work part-time when I relocate to Canada. To make my short story interesting, I also took out some time to research on if part-time jobs were available and I saw that there was quite a handful. That kept me really enthusiastic.
It was just one way to imagine flexibility, at least for me. On a positive side, there are other flexible benefits offered in Nigeria but you can understand why the part-time job opportunity was of major interest to me. I was considering studying for a while.
I have previously discussed on 3 reasons to include workplace flexibility in your business strategy, so I thought it was important to make an article highlighting ways you can include flexibility since it’s a wise business strategy and also because I wrote on 7 tips to achieving work-life balance.
Before I go on to discuss on how to include flexibility, it is important for you to consider the type of industry you run. Here are questions to get you started;
- What impact will flexibility have on your clients and business?
- What challenges will you encounter if you decide to include flexibility?
- Can you handle or manage these challenges?
- Will your employees value the flexible arrangements you offer?
- Do you need to train your managers/ supervisors on the flexibility programs to make it successful?
- Will there be high costs, effort or time incurred from your proposed flexible arrangements? (As for costs, I doubt if you will lose money, on the brighter side you stand to save more. I know how important cutting costs can be to an employer or someone in the management group. So read on!)
Now that you have considered these questions, you will now have this at the back of your mind when deciding on flexible arrangements to make/ offer to your employees.
Focus on the outcome, not hours spent
It’s important for me to remind you that including flexibility in your organization will mean that you should focus more on the results that your employees provide. Lay more emphasis on whether they meet up with set objectives and goals rather than the hours they have to work for.
This evidently means that you need to build trust within your organization. You need to have some level of trust for your employees to successfully have flexible arrangements. You can go about this by ensuring that management group and other levels of employees have adequate training and good rapport.
Here are ways to make flexible arrangements for your employees.
1. Part-time Work
You guessed right! It had to be the first at the top of my list, at least since it was used to introduce this article. Part-time work just means that you give your employee the privilege to choose to work for less hours. This ultimately means less pay compared to if the person chose to work for full hours. So, if the full-time hours for your organization is 40 hours, your employee will then have to work for at least 20 hours or for as long as you both decide but not up to 40 hours.
This is a win-win situation because it will reduce expenses for your business. Also, your employee can have more time at hand to handle personal matters of interests and still work for a pay.
2. Job Sharing
This involves structured part-time work where two employees share a particular work/ job position. In this case, it is well planned between both employees so that they at least have to meet in a day to discuss on progress or tasks that need to be done.
For example, if you need your employees to be at work for long hours (8am to 10pm) you can choose to have one employee report to work from 8am to 4pm and have the second employee show up from 2pm to 10pm. This way, both employees will have about two hours to share information and brief each other on work that needs to be done. Also, one person would enjoy leaving work early while the other would be glad to arrive late to work.
You can always have both employees swap time so that it appears fair. That way, the person who had to be at work early for a week may have to be late to work for the next week and vice versa. This means he/she can avoid traffic rush for that week.
There is no hard and fast rule for planning job sharing. You can plan it depending on the job requirements and industry but you need to ensure that you always have proper records for accountability.
3. Flexible Hours
This mainly means applying “staggered” hours. Here you can give your employee the privilege of choosing hours to work as long as he/she works for the number of stipulated hours. For example one can choose to work from 11am to 7pm rather than 8am to 4pm.
This is negotiating a work schedule that allows an employee to work a traditional/ stipulated 35-40 hour workweek in less than the traditional number of workdays. For example, a full-time employee scheduled for 40 hours per week could work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. This way, the employee will have a work day free to run personal errands.
5. Work from Home
Here, you give the employee the option to work from home on specific terms. You can monitor the employee through technological means (telecommuting) and based on performance and output. This option will favour an employee who needs to be home for specific reasons but has to work at the same time. All that is important is that the job expected of him/her is done. Work from home option may be applied once in two weeks or as best needed. It doesn’t have to be long term but can be offered to your employee where required.
Here are other things to consider
- Ensure that the flexible arrangement you offer is what the employee wants or will appreciate. You can be certain by making offers to the employee and asking him/her to make a choice. Your employee will be happy to select an arrangement that best suits his/her individual needs
- If you don’t have flexible programs in your organization, give out a survey to your employees to inquire as to if they want one
- Ensure that you have good record containing hours of work
- Build good communication with your employees so that you can always be updated on necessary changes or work related matters
- A flexible arrangement that works for one employee may not work for another. Try to be accommodative and like earlier stated let them make a choice if possible
- Always measure results
What do you think? Will you give flexibility a try in your organization? Do you have flexible arrangements in your organization? Have you found it beneficial? How do you go about it?
Deciding to be flexible means that you prioritize employee wellness. Employees and prospective ones look out for this in organizations. It also helps create a positive work atmosphere and improves productivity.
If I start up a business in Nigeria and when I do, I will be sure to include a lot of part-time jobs because I know it will save me a lot of money and I have benefited from flexible arrangements but asides that it will help balance life and work for some employees.
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