Flexible Work Arrangements – Are They Right for Your Business?
Technology allows us to be constantly plugged in and communicating instantly around the globe. As a result, the traditional work schedule of “9 to 5” in the office may be waning in many companies.
By Linda Bisca, HR Services Partner
In fact, a 2014 SHRM survey revealed that nearly 50 percent of employers offer flexible work arrangements.
Because non-traditional schedules and telecommuting are more commonplace, they might be a factor in attracting and retaining top talent, especially in a tightening job market. But offering such alternatives is not without risks. Fortunately, companies that partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), such as Resourcing Edge, can be advised on best practices to avoid the pitfalls of flexible work arrangements.
Let’s explore if such arrangements might be right for your workforce. Like most policy changes, there are a myriad of legal, regulatory, and human resource issues to address. By working with the HR professionals at Resourcing Edge, implementation of compliant flexible work arrangement policies is assured.
What Is a Flexible Work Arrangement?
Flexible work arrangements include:
- Flexibility in scheduling hours, such as flex time and compressed workweeks
- Flexibility in the amount of hours work, including part-time and job sharing
- Flexibility in the place of work, homes or other off-site locations (known as “telecommuting”)
Source: Georgetown University Law Center
It may be that your business needs allow for work hours outside of 9 am to 5 pm. For example, some businesses offer the option of four 10-hour days, allowing workers a three-day weekend. Others provide for early or late starts to accommodate for work/life balance such as long commutes or childcare. Important considerations before allowing flexible hours include having a fair policy that is consistently applied and that complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
According to Gallup, remote workers grew to 43 percent in 2016 and of those working off-site, the amount of time they were doing so also increased. The study indicated an uptick in remote work in industries such as: finance, insurance, real estate, manufacturing and construction, transportation, and retail.
Considerations for telecommuting policies include what types of jobs and workers are eligible and the rules that must be followed. For example, the company may require certain technology safeguards, workspace security, and regular in-office meetings. In addition, a telecommuting agreement may be required, which fully sets forth requirements and expectations. The HR pros at Resourcing Edge can help your business customize an agreement to fit your needs.
Advantages to Companies Offering Flexible/Remote Work Schedule
- Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment.
- Reduced absenteeism and tardiness. Remote employees continue to work when sick without infecting others in the office.
- Increased ability to recruit in tight job market.
- Extended hours of operation for departments, i.e. Customer Service.
- Continuity of operation in event of disaster.
Disadvantages to Companies Offering Flexible/Remote Work Schedule
- Team-oriented departments may need to continue to meet in person.
- Managers adjusting to new management style – requiring trust of their employees.
- Office-oriented employees view remote colleagues as slackers; because, they can’t physically see productivity.
- Only certain jobs can allow remote work. Client facing, assembly line, hands-on healthcare cannot work remotely. Therefore, may be viewed as “not fair” by employees who cannot.
Other Issues to Consider
- Security issues.
- IT infrastructure changes may be necessary.
- Payroll double taxation: Some cities impose taxes on home-based workers whether they work in city or not.
Source: The Balance
How Resourcing Edge Can Help You
If you are considering offering a flexible/remote work environment to your employees, Resourcing Edge will provide you with an HR Professional to assist you in determining things like:
1) Determining what work schedules would work best for your business based on best practices for your industry. By partnering with Resourcing Edge, companies can depend on HR professionals to design flexible/remote work programs that meet the business needs, represent best HR practices, and are compliant with existing law.
2) How to navigate through changes/communications with the employees to ensure a positive employee acceptance. We will help you plan your strategy of communicating and rolling out this new procedure so that employees will accept with positivity and a renewed sense of value in your organization.
3) Compliance, with both payroll taxation and creating a company policy. Resourcing Edge stays up-to-date with changes in laws and trends in work environments and can proactively assist clients with any needed revisions or creations of policies.
HR Services Partner Linda Bisca has more than 25 years of Human Resources experience in the areas of compliance, employee relations, and special projects.