Incorporate flexibility wherever you can

Jun 28, 2022

Whether you’re looking to retain current employees or attract workers looking to change jobs or to come back into the workforce, flexibility is a key competitive advantage.

“Does a company have to be remote to be competitive?” has been an increasingly common question over the past year. Survey says: No, but it helps. Nearly half (46%) of respondents report preferring to work mostly or fully from home. For some workers, remote or hybrid work may be a way of gaining flexibility. For others, it may be a way to insulate themselves from a negative work culture (see “Address Negative Work Environment”).

Flexibility applies as much to when people work as it does to where they work. Finding ways to add flexibility, such as through less rigid attendance policies, shift time adjustments, part-time schedules, increased paid time off (PTO), or other strategies could be more realistic for some companies than a fully remote work environment.

During a roundtable discussion, one employer shared the idea of a “parent shift,” which enabled workers to leave in time to pick up their kids from school or meet them off the school bus, and then return to work to complete their hours for the day. A manufacturing facility pushed back the start time for some of its workers after the bus that stopped in front of its building changed its schedule, so that the expected arrival time of the bus and the shift start time were more in line. Now, the company provides all of its supervisors bus schedules and encourages them to establish shift times that better accommodate the team members’ commutes. Another local employer has had success with a new unlimited PTO policy. “It’s the number one thing people point to in feeling supported in the workplace,” said the employer. And the employer has implemented ways to ensure the policy is not abused. For instance, the PTO payout when an employee leaves is capped at 40 hours.