Shifts in the demographics of the US labor market are affecting workplaces in more ways than one. This includes a dramatic growth of employees who are juggling complex family responsibilities in addition to working a full-time job or multiple jobs.
Most employers have had explosive growth in requests for flexible working hours, flextime, telework, remote work, hybrid work, and compressed work weeks. But, what is an employer to do with differing requests from multiple employees? Here’s how to manage it like a pro:
Consider the Capabilities of your Business (and its Roles)
Ask some of these questions before considering varied work arrangement requests.
1) Is it necessary for anyone to be in the office? How often? Why?
2) What type of work do my employees perform and are they capable of doing it from anywhere? Are there limits on that?
3) Are there time constraints on the work that my employees are performing or can they complete it during flexed hours?
4) How will the corporate culture benefit (or not) from having employees working on different work arrangements?
5) Am I able to manage different work arrangements comfortably?
Streamline Processes for Communications
If you’re looking to move to a varied model of work arrangements, a manager needs to set out clear processes and procedures. For example, handling time off requests or scheduling changes may be confusing if they’re coming from multiple channels to a manager (email, text, calendar invites, slack, phone calls, etc.). To streamline this process, it would be ideal to communicate to your employees how they should go about notifying you of time off or time-shift requests.
Encourage Collaborative Work
Consider creating a collaborative digital workspace like this and implementing a Pomodoro-style working technique (20 mins work with light background music, 5-10 minutes break to chat/eat/snack). This may be a great way to uphold accountability in an approachable way. It can also break the loneliness of those who may be feeling down or unmotivated on a particular day.
Take Advantage of a Flexible System Yourself!
It’s important to set an example for your staff so that you also can take advantage of the flexible work arrangement system. Set aside time in your calendar for physical activity, a personal excursion, or just “disconnect” time. To quell your anxieties it may not be a bad idea to have an emergency contact line or process should somebody need you in the midst of your flexed time.
Utilize Strong Project Management Tools for Accountability
Managers sometimes feel that accountability is much more challenging with flexible or remote work. However, there is a gamut of software tools available to streamline your project management. Try Asana, Monday.com, Trello, Notion, or any other software that will specifically work for you and your team.