Now that you have a feel for what positions at your firm should be hybrid, you might be considering giving employees the ultimate work schedule flexibility – the ability to autonomously choose the days and hours that they work.
Many of your peers have discovered that it’s an easy fringe benefit to add, and that ditching the traditional eight-hour workday to promote work-life balance among their people can be key to retaining top talent and cutting turnover costs.
For instance, research from Robert Half shows 40% of managers have had staffers quit due to their organization’s return-to-office requirements.
On the other hand, 41% of senior managers say they grant employees complete work schedule flexibility. Out of those managers, 27% of them don’t mind if the people in their department work fewer than 40 hours a week, as long as the job gets done.
Work schedule flexibility has side effects
Now understandably, you may have concerns about 100% work schedule flexibility leading to abuse of the privilege and a crippling drop in productivity. But guess what? It can tend to have the opposite effect, leading to employees working longer hours and increasing the risk of burnout and turnover.
When employees are given the freedom to work anytime they want, Robert Half found it can end up creating more stress than relief. A survey of workers showed:
- 72% say they need at least eight hours a day to get their work done, and
- 48% never disconnect from work during business hours.
To prevent a high-stress, “always-on” culture from setting in, encourage employees to:
- communicate when their hours of availability are and build in time for breaks – for example, sending quick emails to their supervisor if they’re working from home and going outside for a short walk, running a quick errand, etc.
- evaluate whether live virtual meeting attendance is absolutely necessary or if accessing a recording of the call later makes more sense for some folks, and
- speak up if they feel overwhelmed to discuss possible solutions.
In addition, if you allow workers to set their own schedules, it’s crucial to coach your managers to anticipate potential problems that may arise and adjust workflows, and to ensure team members have access to resources they may need.