A flexible schedule can benefit both workers and companies, but only if handled right. On the one hand, they can boost the employees’ productivity by increasing employee satisfaction and even prevent valuable workers from quitting. On the other hand, a flexible schedule can lead to a drop in production and to other troubles regarding your business.
However, troubles caused by a flexible schedule usually happen because of one reason: inefficient management. Most of the time it isn’t the managers’ fault, though: they know how to handle ordinary working teams but have no idea about how to handle flexible schedule working ones.
But just like any other managing skill the skill of managing a flexible schedule workforce can be learned, especially when the managers are open and eager to embrace flexibility for their team. That’s why today I want to offer you 5 valuable tips for managing flexible schedule workers.
- 1. Find a Way to Monitor Their Progress.
Measuring ones’ efficiency could be hard if you have no tools and ways to do so. You have to set specific targets and deadlines, just like with ordinary workers – however, it still might not be enough, especially if part of your employees work from home. In this case consider trying an online project manager such as Wrike. This will allow your employees to list their activities and to show the progress made with a certain task.
When a company first adopts a flexible schedule, it is not a good idea to push the employees too hard. For some of them, it could take time to adjust. Moreover, some people might struggle with identifying the exact amount of time needed for them to complete their work. Allow them some time to get used to it.
- 2. Mind the Schedule.
Any manager working with flexible employees has to remember that “flexible” doesn’t mean “available anytime”. This is especially important when your employees work from home: in this case, you aren’t able to see them being busy and you might think they are free to complete a certain but then overload them. This could lead to frustration and conflict. To avoid this happening, discuss the employees’ schedule with them and upcoming projects.
- 3. Communication Is Crucial.
Daily communication is one of the best ways to ensure that your team’s productivity won’t suffer when some of the employees start working on a flexible schedule. Moreover, this has many other benefits too: for example, your telecommuting employees won’t feel isolated from the company. Being able to also quickly reach any other employee they need is important Make a plan and decide how managers and employees are going to communicate. Some teams create group chats in ordinary messengers, while some prefer special ones like Slack – choose the one that seems the most appealing to you.
- 4. Prepare to Adjust Plans.
Of course, developing a work and task plan is crucial to make the most out of a flexible schedule workforce. However, if you didn’t have any similar experience before and if your company never had flexible workers, this would hardly work smoothly right from the start.
Sure, this could be frustrating,– but that’s completely normal. When it comes to flexible workers, it’s important not to create a strong plan first but to be able to adjust it quickly and efficiently if something goes wrong.
- 5. Identify Workers Who Are Good at It.
The sad truth is that while many workers would like to work on a flexible schedule, not all of them actually would succeed at doing so. This kind of work requires a lot of self-discipline as well as strong time-management skills, and while some might find it hard to admit it, they would be better off working on a fixed schedule.
Actually, while some people fail when working with a flexible schedule, others become more productive, finishing their projects quickly and effectively. Your goal as a manager is to identify the ones that are good at it and the ones that aren’t, and offering alternatives to motivate them.
While it might take some time both for workers and management to adjust to a flexible schedule program, in the end, it will definitely benefit all of you. Just be patient, attentive, and don’t give up quickly.
If you are looking to hire flexible professionals in your city, visit Workhoppers and get matched with the perfect candidate.
Charles Ebert is a career mentor, motivational speaker & human resources consultant with over 10 years of experience in HR sector. Charles is a lead expert at Professional Resume Solutions. Apart from career mentoring, he loves photography and football. Find him on Linkedin Twitter, Facebook & Google+.