How to Implement Flexible Work Policies

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report, 30% of job seekers have a strong preference for companies that have chosen to implement flexible work policies. For those less familiar, flex polices include everything from remote work and flexible schedules to job sharing and extended sabbaticals.

As we noted in our post on the benefits of flexible work, companies chose to implement flexible policies because they can be good for both employees and employers. Employees are often healthier, more productive, and less stressed, and companies find they benefit from things like a broader talent pool and lower expenses.

While there has been dramatic growth in the number of companies offering flexible work policies, it’s important to note that flexible workplaces rarely look the same. Every organization needs to understand its unique needs and craft its policies from there. Here are some best practices for how to implement flexible work policies in your company:

Best Practices When You Implement Flexible Work Policies

Know your company’s needs and limitations

The flex work policies you choose to create will hinge on what type of company you run. For example, if your business requires extensive collaboration, you need to implement flex work policies that don’t hinder team dynamics. Perhaps that means you define certain non-optional office hours, or maybe you require everyone is accessible by phone during certain times of the day, or it could be that remote work just can’t be part of your offering. Think through your business operations and only implement flex work policies that are a strategic match.

Define eligibility

In a similar vein, it’s important to determine if all benefits can apply to all employees. Maybe you have an accounting department that can run efficiently outside normal business hours, but you need your legal team onsite. It’s also possible that eligibility is determined on a more individual basis, based on tenure or performance.

Create official policies

Regardless of how many or how few policies you choose to implement, it’s absolutely critical that you take the time to write an official and comprehensive policy for your company. A policy helps to ensure that benefits aren’t determined by the whim of a manager, or abused by an associate.

The policy should define the eligibility of employees, explain what type of flex work choices are available, and state expectations for performance and communication. We recommend you start simple and be clear. It’s also worthwhile to have your legal team review your plans to make sure any legal pitfalls are avoided, particularly around hours worked and eligibility for overtime.

Train managers and employees

In order to successfully implement flexible work polices, your entire company needs to be trained on the details of the policy. Both managers and employees need to understand expectations and the role each plays in success. For example, the specifics of communication method and frequency could vary, depending on the particular manager/employee combination. Make sure conversations around expectations occur so that everyone has as much information as they need. There should also be a plan in place for how to help resolve any conflicts or difficulties that arise.

Provide tools and resources

While communication is always important, it is critical for success when you implement flexible work policies. In addition to email and phone, your company may also need to invest in other tools like an instant messaging service, video conferencing application, or an online meeting platform.

It’s also important to define what tools the company will provide to remote employees and how they should be utilized. Can flex workers use company devices and networks for personal purposes? What systems need to be put in place to protect the organization’s proprietary data and intellectual property?

Hire accordingly

If you expect your employees will spend at least some portion of their time working remotely, be sure to hire someone who has the skills to handle such a scenario. Certain traits like being self-motivated, being good at time management, and having strong communication skills become more critical when employees are outside of a structured office environment.

Define and evaluate success

As with any corporate program, it’s important to understand how if your flexible work policies are working. Are you getting the productivity and performance you expect? Are your employees experiencing benefits? Are you seeing better engagement and retention? Define what it looks like for you to successfully implement flexible work policies and then take the time to periodically evaluate how it’s going.

Closing Thoughts on How to Implement Flexible Work Policies

Creating a flexible work environment in your company can help your business to grow. There are numerous flexible work options from choosing to let your employees work from home, to having a flexible schedule, to offering unlimited vacation. While there is no “one size fits all companies” solution, a thoughtful approach can improve employee satisfaction, which helps drive productivity and loyalty.

Contact us if you want to know more about how to implement flexible work policies at your company. We’re happy to share what we do.