Managing Flexible Work Options

Managing flexible work options such as telecommuting, reduced workweeks, flexible work hours, remote work arrangements, and temporary assignments can be a real challenge. There are many aspects to consider even if your organization has a flexible culture and polices that support the use of flexible work options.

As an HR professional, you can provide leadership on your organization’s flexible work policies and support managers as they administer these policies within their work groups. When done well, flexible work arrangements can help to create a workplace of choice that fosters employee engagement and is effective in strategic hiring and retention.

What are the benefits of flexible work arrangements?
Improved Wellbeing and Prevention of Burnout: Employees who have more control over their workdays report better mental wellbeing, including lowered stress, less burnout, and increased job satisfaction.

Increased Productivity: Many employees are technology-enabled to work from anywhere. They are also in the best position to know how to maximize their own productivity.

Engagement, Hiring and Retention: Flexible arrangements are usually a win-win for everyone. Enabling different work arrangements recognizes a diversity of employee needs, supports a family-friendly culture and acknowledges that everyone’s situations change over time.
People are at their best when they feel supported. Flexible work arrangements are fast becoming a best practice for any organization to be an employer of choice.

What Can HR Professionals do?
1. Be a champion of flexible work options. Discuss policy recommendations with your senior leadership. Identify role models at the top of the organization.
2. Talk to managers and assess the help they need to manage flexible work options. Design training or resources to clarify the organization’s position.
3. Lead by example. Walk the talk by adopting a few flexible work arrangements yourself. Coach people on how to do this well.
4. Recognize the courage of any employee who approach you about a flexible work arrangement. Help them to bring a reasonable request forward.
HR professionals need to balance the needs of the organization, managers, and employees. This is difficult work and can be stressful. Remember that the EAP is standing by to support you as your approach these challenging issues.