Chris Russell

3 min read

Human Resources

Flexible Hours Are What Employees Want

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging on two years in we are seeing a huge shift in the core desires of employees. You can’t have a worldwide long-term crisis happen and not experience an overhaul of cultural norms.

Values have changed. People want different outcomes from life. Most families want to spend more time together now that they got a taste of what life looks like when they actually interact with each other during weeks long lockdowns in the homestead. Working moms and dads realized the priceless experience of seeing their kids for more than a couple hours a day. 

These new values mean changed demands from the workforce. We already know the demand for remote work has skyrocketed. The companies who are able and have caught on to this trend are seeing steady success. The organizations able to adapt to remote work may not be experiencing the hardship of hiring during ‘the great resignation’ or ‘the great reshuffle’ as CEO of LinkedIn, Ryan Roslansky, has coined it. But what about those industries and organizations that are not able to adapt to a remote work environment? The nature of some operations, whether it be healthcare, manufacturing, retail, etc., simply require in person human interaction. 

Flexible Hours Survey Results

According to a recent New World of Work survey from Workable, 44.9% of businesses plan to go a different route to maintain and retain talent during this new world of working environments. They are implementing flexible scheduling. The data from this survey prompted Workable to do a deep dive into the desire for and feasibility of flexible scheduling by researching the origin of discontent from employees. 

In comparison to the appeal of remote work, their survey suggests that there is a larger trend – 58.2% of respondents — citing flexibility in their schedule as completely or nearly completely necessary to them. The researchers at Workable wanted to know not only how many people are longing for a flex schedule but also why. According to them

  • 55.8% of US workers say the ease of integrating personal and professional priorities is a major benefit of having a flexible work schedule.
  • 40% of all US families live with children under 18.1  When parents recognize there are companies willing to hire them, pay them a higher wage, AND allow them to schedule work duties around personal life, they are walking out the door… quickly. 

What can employers do to adapt to this change in demand? How can they stay relevant when their progressive competitors are dangling promises to allow employees to “Do whatever you want?”2 That’s what CEO Dan Price told his employees when he ran the numbers and found that his company would save money by allowing employees the choice on how and when they would work. 

How Employers Should React

The truth of the matter is that our work environment has been upended. If you aren’t on board with adaptation, you will soon start to lose quality talent if you haven’t already. What can companies do to offer flexibility AND keep operations running profitably?

  1. LISTEN. Don’t be out of touch with what your employees really desire. Roll out a survey that asks them how you can adjust to their changing values. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. 
  2. Are there any areas where occasional flexibility can be offered? Allowing employees to switch shifts with one another is a great way they can find the time off they need without causing a void in operations. Can your employees flex their lunch time? Can your staff be given extra time in the morning or afternoon hours by starting their shift earlier or staying later?
  3. Would it be possible to move a portion of the job to an at home environment? Maybe an employee has administrative duties that can be completed from home one day a week. 
  4. How about a job share? Many workers are looking for part-time opportunities. Can any of your positions be shared between two workers? A job share likely takes away the cost burden of providing company sponsored benefits and gives the ability to offer the kind of flexibility that many parents are looking for. 
  5. If flexibility in schedules can absolutely not be offered, something else is going to have to be on the table. Companies may have to ramp up their PTO policy, parental leave opportunities, or offer insanely competitive pay. 

The basic 8 to 5 simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

Article contribution by Stephanie Mauney, PHR, SHRM-CP

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