Are You Considering Flexible Work Arrangements? Perhaps You Should Be

Once considered a generous perk that only a handful of companies offered, more and more companies are offering flexible work arrangements (FWA) and experts say they are here to stay. That’s a good thing for many employees – and can be a great thing for employers as well. In fact, FWAs just may provide a solid framework for your success going forward.

The concept is a simple one – provide flexibility for your employees in their work schedule or work location. Technology allows us to take advantage of all of this and really rethink how we do business. We’ll cover some of the basics here, but we’ll also challenge you to think about ways you can leverage flex workers in your business now and in the future.

The Basics
Why are flexible work arrangements on the rise? The talent-driven market demanded less rigidity and employers were answering the call. This took the form of:

  • Shifted schedules (6am-2pm or 10am to 8pm, for example)
  • Compressed work weeks (Four 10-hour days)
  • Telecommuting on pre-determined days
  • Reduced or minimal travel requirements
  • Unlimited PTO if defined goals are being met

The Advantages
The “wins” can be counted in both the employee and employer columns. Employees enjoy more freedom and autonomy, which translates to feeling more empowered on the job. Morale and engagement are higher, which leads to higher levels of productivity and teamwork. The shift in work/life balance allows employees to enjoy more time at home, to take advantage of the added time not being stuck in traffic or be given the flexibility to run short errands during the day.

Employers reap the rewards of all of these employee benefits. They also attract more talent since so many job seekers are looking for these types of arrangements. Retention is higher, while sick days and absenteeism are lower. Flexible work can also drive diversity, giving more opportunities to the disabled, older workers, people with health concerns, caregivers, and single parents, as well as those living in rural areas.

The Pit Falls
There are some things to watch out for though. You’ll need to figure out how to effectively manage remote employees, primary through trust, clear expectations, and effective two-way communication.  Without a doubt, you need accountability and if you have ineligible employees on your teams, they may feel slighted or left out.  Customer service and client availability may need to be considered, as well as necessary support functions such as HR and IT.

Leveraging Flexibility – Outside the Box
The possibilities are endless when you think about what this could mean for your organization.

  • Bring in highly skilled talent for short-term projects. Build a strong network of specialists to tap when you need extra hands. Lean into the contract workforce and make it work for you.
  • Do you have two rock star employees struggling to make full-time work? Explore a job share solution and capitalize on two high-level contributors.
  • Hire a part-time employee and finally tackle that list of “should-do’s”. Or take mundane tasks off your sales team to free up time for more revenue generating activity.

For this to work, individuals, teams, and clients must be aligned on expectations and codes of conduct. That means fostering a culture that recognizes and rewards productivity and performance. It means consistently combating the misconception that flex work is gender-driven. And it means encouraging transparency at all levels so employees can establish arrangements that enable them to prioritize their work and their well-being.

Engage your employees and find out what kind of flexibility matters most to them. You’ll need to partner with IT and facilities teams and you may consider a soft roll-out to start. Once your system is in place, celebrate it! Build your brand as an “employer of choice”. Your employees and your bottom line can benefit. Talk about a win-win!

The CFO Suite is a boutique consultative staffing and executive search firm specialized in management and executive level accounting and finance talent.  We boost the capabilities and capacity of your accounting and finance department, offering a unique ability to provide an integrated and comprehensive suite of services.