Looking to create a flexible work schedules policy?
With most of the world still facing severe consequences due to the COVID 19 pandemic, businesses have had to alter the way they work, almost overnight.
One of the more widespread changes experienced is that of remote work, with employees staying out of the office almost entirely during the workday.
Now that many companies have to implement new policies regarding when, how often, and how long employees are in the office, creating a flexible work schedules policy is essential.
In this article, we take a look at why you need a flexible work arrangement for your company. We have even included a sample workplace flexibility policy to help get you started quickly.
This article contains:
(click on the links to jump to a section)
- What is a flexible work schedules policy?
- What should a flexible work schedule policy contain?
- A free flexible work schedules policy template
- Why do you need a flexible work schedule policy?
- Three tips to help you implement a flexible work schedule policy
What is a flexible work schedule policy?
(Note: The first few sections cover the basics of flexible schedule policies and what they should cover. If you want to skip ahead to the template, click here.)
Utilizing a flexible work schedule policy allows employees to modify their arrival and departure times, how long they work, or from where they work. It essentially operates as an alternative to the standard nine to five, 40-hour work week.
It’s important to point out that the Fair Labor Standards Act in the US doesn’t mention flexible work schedules. As such, it’s an agreement between employer and employee.
The policy should clearly explain who it applies to and under what circumstances an employee may be eligible for a flexible work arrangement.
What should a flexible work schedule policy contain?
Here are some important sections to include in a flexible work schedule policy:
In the first section of the policy, you should explain why the business is implementing a flexible work schedule.
Also, consider mentioning that the firm is committed to helping its represented employees adjust to the demands of life by offering a better work/life balance, and what this means for the employee.
You should also consider including some of the benefits of implementing such a policy.
For example, creating a flexible workweek for the employee would still allow them to maintain work quality.
This section should clearly explain to whom the flexible work schedule policy applies.
This can include every staff employee, contract employee, freelancer, and any paid or voluntary member, or anyone else the policy may affect. .
C. Types of alternative work options available to employees
It’s important to list which flexible work option will be available to employees and clearly distinguish between them.
Some alternative work schedule options include:
In a flextime agreement, an employee will work eight hour workdays, but the employee will have flexible hours — allowing them to adjust when they arrive and leave. A flextime schedule may be attractive to staff who need to start later in the day and finish in the evening.
2. Compressed workweek
In a compressed workweek schedule, an employee will work 10-hour days in exchange for a four day workweek. Alternatively, an employee may work nine hours Monday through Thursday and four hours every Friday. The total working hours and remuneration remain the same as if using a standard schedule.
3. Job sharing
Two part-time employees will be assigned to the same job, filling the requirements of one full-time employee. The continuity of the work must be ensured and employees will be working in tandem at the same workstation.
4. Reduced hours
An employee will have fewer work hours than the standard workweek, with salary being adjusted accordingly. A reduced schedule usually sees the employee switch from a full-time role to a part-time role.
In a telecommuting arrangement, employees will continue to work their full-time job and split their working time between home and the office. A telecommuting agreement may also see the employee working away from the office entirely.
D. List the requirements to qualify for a flexible work arrangement
It’s important to state who within the company is eligible for an alternative work arrangement.
Some positions won’t be eligible for a flexible work arrangement as employees need to be present every day, such as those in the finance department.
Additionally, you may include other stipulations like being in the office during core hours. These might include:
- Having a favorable attendance record.
- Meeting performance expectations.
- Completing tasks on time.
E. Include all the finer points
Make sure to add if there will be trial periods along with their duration.
It may be wise to trial the policy within one department or a small group of employees. This way, you’ll be able to work out any issues that may arise before implementing company-wide.
Also mention the goals and responsibilities of the employee, as well as what is expected of you as an employer.
A free flexible work schedule policy template
Now that we’ve explained what to include, here’s a sample template to help get you started.
It’s important to note that you may need to modify certain parts to meet your organization’s needs.
A. Introduction and purpose of the policy
[Company name] is committed to helping our employees face the challenges of modern life.
To provide our staff with a better work life balance, [company name] has decided to implement some arrangements to provide employees with increased flexibility in their work schedule while maintaining a productive work environment.
The purpose of this policy is to describe the types of flexible work arrangements that may be made available to certain [company name] staff, the process for initiating a request for a flexible work arrangement, and how we determine an employee’s eligibility for an alternative schedule.
B. Scope of the policy
All [company name] employees will be considered for alternative work scheduling on a case-by-case basis, provided the nature of the job allows for a flexible work arrangement.
Additionally, flexible work schedules must be proven to show the accomplishment of both work and personal goals, to serve operational needs and [company name] as a whole with no drop in quality output.
C. Types of alternative work schedules available to employees
Some of the flexible work arrangements available to employees at [company name] include:
- Flextime: a flex schedule that allows employees to choose when their work begins and ends.
- Compressed work week: a compressed work schedule sees employees work the same total number of hours but fewer days a week.
- Job sharing: two part-time employees fill the responsibilities of one full-time employee.
- Telework: teleworking or telecommuting employees work from home. There is no change in the number of hours worked.
D. How we determine eligible employees for alternative work arrangements
To determine whether there is an eligible employee for flexible scheduling, [company name] considers the following criteria:
1. The nature of the job
Some staff will be exempt from the flexible work policy due to their job if the job requires attendance at specific hours or days of the week or has a full-time workload.
2. The needs of the team and department
Some employees may not qualify for an alternative work arrangement if the department the employee works for requires the employee to be present.
3. The duration of the arrangement
Some staff may have to alter their flexible schedule work arrangement by working regular hours (nine to five) on certain days.
4. Impact on colleagues
[Company name] will evaluate the impact on the employee’s colleagues as a result of the arrangement. If the department’s operations are largely dependent on teamwork, [company name] may reject the proposal.
5. Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction can in no way be impacted by an employee’s flexible work schedule.
The decision will be reevaluated if an employee’s regularly scheduled workday changes and negatively impacts performance or service delivery.
For example, if a customer or client doesn’t receive the quality of product or service they are accustomed to.
[Company name] will consider an exempt employee to be one that doesn’t qualify a flexible work arrangement, either due to the nature of the job or if working remotely impacts any of the above-mentioned criteria. Non exempt employees will be required at the worksite.
E. Procedure for initiating a flexible work arrangement request
If an employee were to initiate a request for an alternate work schedule, the following procedure must be adhered to:
Step 1: The employee files an official request for an alternative work schedule with their manager and the human resources department including reasons for their request.
Step 2: The employee’s manager will approve or reject the request.
Step 3: If approved, the request will need approval from the human resources department.
Step 4: If approved, the employee and manager will meet to discuss the details of the arrangement and agree on the goals and responsibilities of the employee.
Step 5: HR will put the agreement in writing.
Step 6: The decision will be revisited if the employee’s productivity or efficiency fall.
In cases where the employer rejects the employee’s request, the employee must receive a formal letter stating the reasons for the rejection.
In cases where the employer initiates the request, the employee must receive formal notification of the policy and sign the agreement with all parties involved.
Disclaimer: This template is only meant to provide a general guide and should be used as a reference. This template may not account for all relevant local, state, or federal laws and should not be considered a legal document. Neither the author nor Time Doctor will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this sample flexible work schedule policy.
Why do you need a flexible work schedule policy?
Providing a flexible work arrangement has a few employee benefits:
1. Boosts employee happiness
Most individuals value flexible work hours over a larger paycheck.
Implementing a policy that provides workers with a greater degree of freedom is bound to increase happiness among staff members.
As such, by creating a company culture that values individual preferences, you’ll find happier employees are more productive employees.
Moreover, it can dramatically affect recruitment and retention as many employees and potential new hires appreciate a flexible workweek.
A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 91% of human resource professionals agreed that flexible work arrangements lead to increased employee engagement levels, job satisfaction, and retention.
2. Saves up on costs
In addition to increasing employee retention, allowing your employees some freedom to work from home can result in tremendous cost-savings to the firm.
By minimizing the number of employees at the office, the space taken up by cubicles and offices can be cut down – reducing numerous expenses to the company including, rent, equipment, utilities, and supplies in the process.
3 tips to help you implement a flexible work schedule policy
Here are a few tips on how to effectively implement a flexible work schedule policy:
1. Get started as soon as possible
While the ultimate goal of implementing a flexible work schedule for your staff is to create a better working environment, don’t underestimate the amount of work involved in implementing such a policy.
It’ll be a good idea to talk to key managers ahead of time and help them understand the big picture. This will streamline the process and get your policy implemented more quickly.
2. There will be a learning curve
Managing a workforce operating on a flexible work schedule will present new challenges that managers may not be ready for.
As a precaution, it’s a good idea to train managers ahead of time to better manage the staff under them — ensuring that flexibility in the workweek doesn’t come at the expense of productivity or quality of work.
3. Have a practice run
Before implementing the work arrangement, it might be wise to have a trial flexible work schedule for the short-term.
This will help identify any potential issues that could arise, especially in larger firms.
Try implementing the policy in one department or with a small group of employees from separate departments. Be sure to run the trial for a good amount of time, like at least a month, to gain a proper understanding of how your team operates under new conditions.
With an increasing number of teams being asked to work from home, implementing a flexible work schedule policy is a process that companies have to implement quickly.
Utilizing such a policy can have a few advantages for staff as well as the business. It’s important to keep in mind that not all employees will be eligible for a flexible work week.
By embracing the remote work trend, implementing a new scheduled workday can put you in an excellent position to attract and retain staff while ensuring the long term survivability of your business.
Use these tips provided in this guide to structure a great flexible work schedule policy, to create a great flexible work environment.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.