September 18, 2017

101: Offering workplace flexibility

Technology has enabled workplaces to offer more flexibility to employees, with the Internet being the essential tool for communication and production in today's business world. The number of American employees who work from home regularly has grown 115 percent since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Nearly 4 million employees work from home at least half of the time, and about one quarter do so "with some frequency," the report found. Employees are also spending less time at their desks, even if they're based in an office.

Large companies are the most likely to offer flexible work arrangements, but businesses of all sizes should explore this benefit. Here's what to consider before you take the plunge.

Know the risks. There are many studies citing the pros of allowing flexible work arrangements, but if you're letting employees telecommute, know that collaboration may take a hit and the office won't be as lively, cautions an article by HR software company Zenefits. It's also a good idea to outline which positions aren't a good fit for options like telecommuting in order manage employee expectations, says an article posted by Villanova University.

Put it in writing. Put flexible work policies in writing and have employees sign them. Be sure to spell out what constitutes "hours worked," and expectations for overtime work, says the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and considering using time-tracking software.

Know the options. Flexible work arrangements is more than just telecommuting. Companies can offer a variety of options, according to SHRM, like allowing flex time schedules where employees choose the hours they work, or a compressed workweek,.


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