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What is a flexible work schedule policy? (+ Free Template)

What is a flexible work schedule policy?  (+ Free Template)

A flexible work schedule policy outlines for employees an alternative to the typical 9–5, Monday – Friday work week. This could possibly allow for di

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A flexible work schedule policy outlines for employees an alternative to the typical 9–5, Monday – Friday work week. This could possibly allow for different daily start and end times or even a compressed four-day work week. Employees who can adjust their working hours can better manage their time and focus on their tasks. Although there are no federal guidelines or restrictions on flexible work schedules, companies must still comply with all other employment laws.

If you plan to allow flexible work in your workplace, you need to create a proper flexible work schedule policy to ensure expectations are clear. Below, we will discuss types of flexible work schedules, as well as laws to keep in mind and other considerations.

First, download and customize our free Flexible Work Schedule Policy Template. Make sure your policy is reviewed by a service lawyer to ensure compliance with any labor laws.

Types and examples of flexible work schedules

One important benefit of flexible work schedules is that you can create a schedule that works for your company’s needs and your employees’ desires. Ultimately, you want a cost-effective and productivity-inducing flexible schedule for your employees.

Below are some flexible work schedule policy types and examples. Note that not everyone will work for every company, and you may need to take some ideas from one example and some from another to build your company policy.

Bending time gives employees the ability to choose their working hours. Your company can either commission a few core hours of work or set up a schedule where everyone attends a meeting of all staff once a week. In addition, employees can do their jobs when they feel most productive, as long as they meet their deadlines.

These setups recognize that each individual has different hours of work efficiency – and limiting everyone to the same schedule can limit their productivity and efficiency. In some cases, employees deliver effective work less than half the time they are on the clock. If your business lends itself to making employees work when they are most efficient, you may see an increase not only in productivity but also in employee morale and engagement.

If you decide to implement bending time in your business, it is a good idea to keep track of your employees’ hours to ensure they continue to work their full schedule.

The University of Oregon has adopted a flexible work arrangement policy for administrative officers and classified employees. Here are some of the key elements of his policy:

  • Flexible work arrangements are based on the specific needs of the unit at that particular time and the ability of the individual employee to work effectively in a flexible work arrangement.
  • Flexible arrangements requested by employees are a privilege, not an expectation of employment.
  • Flexible work arrangements are not suitable for all positions, times of the year or campus settings. The university is an organization with work environments that are very different and require specific staff to function effectively.
  • Employees with flexible work arrangements remain subject to applicable university policies and procedures, collective bargaining agreements, and federal and state laws.

A compressed work week gives employees the option to put in their 40 hours during fewer working days. For example, you could give employees the option to work four 10-hour workdays and have three-day weekends.

There can be significant cost savings with a compressed work week. According to the US Energy Information Association’s average monthly energy bill statistics, reducing the work week by one day can save the average company more than $ 1,500 a year on electricity costs alone. The downside is that some clients and customers may not be able to get help during the three-day weekends. You can overcome this by having employees work four-day work weeks – but then you lose out on the overhead cost savings of closing the office.

The government of Fulton County (Georgia) has instituted a compressed workweek policy that allows its employees to choose between a flexible schedule and a shortened workweek. Here are its inclusions:

Bending time: Working day start and end times differ from those of the working group’s standard working hours, but the same number of hours per day is maintained.
Compressed working week: Full-time options that allow employees to work longer days for part of a week or pay period in exchange for shorter days or a day off during that week or pay period.

Hybrid work schedules may vary, but generally include bending time options that combine some in-office work and some remote work. For example, you could allow qualifying employees to work a more traditional, in-office schedule three days a week, while enjoying a more flexible schedule that works remotely two days a week. Or you could offer the option for employees to work a handful of core hours in the office while you start the day early or finish the day late from home.

Did you know?

Nearly 45% of digital workers said that working-hour flexibility, such as that made possible by a hybrid model, makes them more productive.

Hybrid work schedules can achieve the best of both worlds — colleagues get time to work together while in the office and time to focus when working remotely. Managers can regularly tune in to employees and progress their work while leaving another distance and not appearing as a micro-manager.

The technology giant, Google, announced in an email to its employees a hybrid work policy (example above) with guidelines for their return to work after the global pandemic.

“We are moving to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend about three days in the office and two days where they work the best. Since time in the office will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and features will help you decide which days teams will meet in the office. There will also be roles that may have to be on site more than three days a week due to the nature of the work. ”

Applicable laws for flexible work schedules

Generally, what you do for one employee, you want to do for everyone. However, flexible work schedules may only work for certain roles, and therefore it is necessary to determine when and to whom they apply. Regardless, you need to ensure that your company meets the requirements, no matter what flexible work option you choose.

Equal Employment Opportunity

When workers are dispersed and not in a central location, it can cause headaches for compliance. Equal employment opportunity laws require employers to treat employees the same and not discriminate in wages, hours and other conditions of employment. When implementing a flexible employment policy, your company must ensure that it is done without discriminating against any protected class.

Because some job duties will require a worker’s physical presence, they may not be eligible for flexible work schedules. Your company must include language in your policy that will be case-by-case approval. This decision must be made on the basis of non-discriminatory factors, such as an employee’s job duties and previous performance.

Wage & Hour

Both federal and state wage and hourly laws must be reviewed before a flexible work schedule policy is rolled out. If your company offers a four-day work week where employees work 10-hour days, it could have implications for overtime. For example, California law requires overtime pay for any hours worked more than eight on a given day for qualifying employees. So, if you have hourly employees working in California, your business will have to budget for two hours of overtime each day with a four-day work week.

This can provide an unaffordable situation for your business. Reviewing your state’s regulations will help you catch legal hurdles like these before you get too far in the process. You can find these laws on your state’s Department of Labor website.

Workers’ compensation

When employees work in an office or central location, their employer’s employee compensation insurance coverage will provide them with benefits if they suffer an injury at work. But if an employee works from home and is injured while on the clock, do they get workers’ compensation benefits? Can be.

Most states ‘workers’ compensation laws have not been updated to address this shifting work environment. Your company can not control the homework space of your employees, but may still be subject to payment of claims if they sustain injuries. Understanding the consequences and getting the necessary coverage is critical to ensuring that your flexible work schedule program is successful.

When a flexible work schedule is appropriate

If your company employs workers who do not have to sit at the same desk at the same time every day, you may be able to provide more flexibility with your scheduling. By providing this benefit to employees, your company gains more loyalty and dedication from your team.

Alternatively, certain positions may not be suitable for a flexible work schedule. Some duties require people to be available during certain hours of the workday, so working outside hours will not be conducive to company productivity.

Show a graph of flexi tasks vs non-flexi tasks.

Depending on the type of industry in which your company operates, you may have workers whose job responsibilities will make it difficult for them to work anywhere other than your location. For these workers, the flexibility you can offer is quite limited, as with their arrival and departure times.

Pros and cons of a flexible work schedule policy

From employee retention to increased morale, there are many benefits to implementing a flexible employment policy. However, flexible work schedules also have some disadvantages for employers. Considering these pros and cons before implementing a policy will help you know what you are doing and do not want in a policy.

Bottom Line

From increased employee productivity to creating a competitive advantage that attracts high-quality employees, workers want flexible work options that ultimately support your company’s success. Create a flexible work schedule policy that fits your company culture and makes your team the most productive.

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