After the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the number of people working from home increased exponentially. Now that life is regaining a sense of normalcy, most people are able to go back to work. However, many companies are choosing to implement more flexible schedule policies as they understand the benefits of allowing their employees to work from outside the office.
While there are numerous benefits to allowing employees to choose their work hours and from where they want to work, some companies are concerned that this would result in a loss of productivity. Here, 11 members of Forbes Human Resources Council weigh in to share their best strategies for implementing a flexible work policy while maintaining productivity.
1. Focus On Work Results And Deadlines
Employers should understand that different workers are more productive at different times of the day. Therefore, they should shift their focus to work results and deadlines rather than the time of day and number of hours worked in order to achieve a successful outcome. By entrusting employees with the freedom that a flexible schedule allows, they will work that much harder to maintain their employers’ trust. – John Feldmann, Insperity
2. Invest In Better Tools To Train And Track
In addition to supporting the culture of trust and ongoing frequent collaboration opportunities for your employees, consider investing in better tools to onboard, train and track engagement and performance. Ultimately it’s about collaboration and getting the work done. If employees are empowered to do that without “doing the desk time,” this will drive a more engaged and productive workforce. – Rachel Lyubovitzky, EverythingBenefits
3. Conduct Frequent One-On-One Meetings
Flexible work schedules mean managers need to work extra hard to stay connected with their people. Companies should invest in development that improves a manager’s effectiveness in conducting one-on-one meetings. Frequent one-on-one meetings are critical in a virtual environment when managers might not be able to tell if an employee is having an issue and needs help. They’re also shown to boost engagement and productivity. – John Morgan, LHH
4. Create A Double-Coverage Attendance
Depending on your organizational model and your products and services, it is functional to adopt innovations that allow workers flexibility. This can be achieved by studying the structure of roles and creating—especially in small and medium enterprises—a double-coverage attendance system. For example, if I had two clerks, they could do flexible hours and could always grant the coverage of the office at the same time. – Laura Colombo, ETAss s.r.l.
5. Create Mutual Contracts For Employees
Start with trust and a mutual contract with your employees. Most companies didn’t lose productivity during the pandemic. It is an archaic view of office work to think that everyone must be in an office nine to five. Provide learning and communication tools and determine which channels are best for innovation, collaboration and communication. Let employees help design the best work environment for themselves. – Margaret-Ann Cole, Porter Novelli
6. Shift From FaceTime To Flex Time
Many people fear that flexibility will hurt productivity, but research shows just the opposite. Managers need to shift their mindset from face time to flex time, which involves taking a big picture view of each person’s contributions. Worry more about what gets done and less about when and where. If you continue to focus on goals and performance, employees will not disappoint you. – Mikaela Kiner, Reverb
7. Conduct Standing Daily Team Meetings
Have a standing daily meeting. This gives everyone a set time to get questions answered in a timely manner and be efficient in their day, whatever those work hours might be. Committing to a set time for check-in allows employees to know when deadlines or answers will need to be provided, while still allowing them flexibility in their schedule to do the work. They will feel ownership in their timeline. – Amy Odeneal, Business Enablement
8. Work On Culture And Leadership Team
Work on your culture and leadership team so that you have the right climate and capabilities for your flexible work policy to thrive. The goal should be to make flexibility part of your culture and your leadership team’s core skill set and mindset, as opposed to a rigid policy that needs to be followed. Create the conditions where people can be trusted and empowered, and then work on flexibility. – Nicole Fernandes, Blu Ivy Group
9. Create Workflow Solutions For Collaboration
Creating workflow solutions that enable teams to collaborate seamlessly regardless of physical location is becoming a critical aspect of maintaining and increasing productivity. Recently, we have seen the rise of applications such as Box.com, Monday.com and Slack, making it possible for teams to collaborate across the hall or around the globe. – Erald Minga, Elgin Community College
10. Set Core Hours To Maintain Productivity
Setting core hours is critical to maintaining productivity when implementing a flexible work schedule policy. It ensures that my team can work collaboratively while providing the flexibility needed for employees to work when they’re most productive and sustain a work-life balance. As a leader, I also need to model the right behaviors to support this flexibility. – Jennifer Rozon, McLean & Company
11. Clarify Goals And Alignment On Vision
Set clear goals and objectives for the individual and set a clear alignment on the vision for the team and the organization. This alignment will ensure an understanding of timelines. This needs to be coupled with a constant check-in process on roadblocks that get in the way and the support that’s needed to clear those problems for the person to do their best work. – Rohini Shankar, CIOX Health