5 Ways to Offer Flexibility to your Workforce

FLEXIBILITY is the second most desired benefit by employees after traditional medical benefits.*  Most managers think that working from home or part-time options are the primary ways to offer flexibility.  However, there are other options to consider.  Here are 5 ways to offer flexibility you may not have thought about.

  • New communication platforms– in a flexible environment, social media and text-based communication platforms make it easy for employees to stay in touch remotely and are far more agile than traditional email. These options exist for both quick communication between individuals and teams and they also exist for larger two-way communications needed in structured programs or implementations.
  • Flexible meeting sites– allow employees to meet and work where convenient and at low or no cost to the company. Parks, coffee shops, shared office sites are options employees and teams can use at their convenience.  The option to have a 4:00pm meeting in a location that helps avoid rush hour traffic is a definite plus.
  • Cross-Training– provides multiple opportunities and benefits to both employee and employer. Having a cross-trained workforce that can backfill for one another is a way to offer flexibility in both unplanned and pre-planned situations.
  • Sabbaticals – are an excellent way to retain talent while allowing employees to take personal time for other life experiences. While some professions have used this option for years, others may struggle to see how they can maintain work and business in the absence of key talent.  As with any program, planning is involved, but this option can be quite successful and a popular flexible offering to employees.
  • Compressed Work Options– compressed work weeks have been around for some time, but longer-term compressed options are also a way to implement flexibility. Compressing quarters by one week (11 vs 12 weeks) and allowing rotational paid-time-off during the 1 remaining week is also an option.  The impact of this will feel like standard vacation time away from the office to employers while adding more vacation-like flexibility for employees at no additional cost.

As with any program or benefit, careful planning and clear policies are required.  Getting creative when implementing flexibility can help you attract and retain talent.

Charlotte Ntreh is a Partner at PeopleResults where she helps clients build and sustain high performing, effective and impactful organizations with measurable results. You can reach her at cntreh@people-results.com or follow her on twitter @cntreh.

 * Harvard Business Review