Our company expects employees to work 8 hours per day but we offer complete flexibility in the timing; it could be 9 - 5 / 7:30 – 3:30 / or even 10 – 6. But lately, we’ve been getting feedback that employees want more flexibility. What would this look like? What do other companies do?
~ Flexible Manager ~
Dear Flexible Manager,
Start by reflecting on what it is, exactly, that you want to pay people for; is it for their time? Or the work performed? Most front-line jobs require a certain number of hours on the job because the work performed is based on direct client interaction (bank tellers, grocery clerks, hair dressers). But for all other employees, we see a move away from the very notion of ‘pay for time’.
This requires a fundamental shift in the way you manage. A Results-Only-Environment measures outcome not input.
At it’s core, this about mutual respect and it takes the concept of work-life balance one step further. It challenges us to see employees as whole people with complex lives and competing demands. It means the very notion of our work – life relationship becomes more fluid. Your life is part of work and your work is part of your life; they are one.
This doesn’t mean less accountability. It just changes what we’re accountable for. Employees still need demonstrate a respectful balance of personal freedom with accountability to their team and company. But focus on the relationship – not the rule! The Best Workplaces don’t have static policies around flexibility; rather, they create an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and understanding.
Given the inherent power dynamic, it’s best if management starts this conversation and sets the tone.
Step 1: role-model the behaviour your want to see. When you’re working, be present and efficient.
Step 2: Offer clear and direct communication around expectations and consequences.
Step 3: Focus on the relationship – not the rule
Then TRUST your employees to make the right decision. Below are a few Best Practice examples from award winning workplaces that have done just that.
• myRyan Workplace Flexibility
Ryan ULC has a workplace flexibility program called myRyan, which offers employees the flexibility to work where and when they want as long as they achieve financial results and client service scores. They do not have set office hours or locations. Employees can decide where and when they work on a day-to-day basis as long as their manager and team agrees and client needs are being met. Employees are expected to observe the “three C’s” to accomplish this effectively– communication, collaboration, and consideration. Teams design and create their own schedules for making myRyan work.
• Results Only Work Environment
At Verafin, they have a results only work environment (ROWE), which means that as long as employees are achieving results, how they manage their time is up to them. They can work whatever hours they want – no one watches who is coming and going. They can work from wherever they want – home, Starbucks or the park, it doesn’t matter. They can take as much vacation as they want, Verafin doesn't track it.
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