A flexible work schedule policy outlines for employees an alternative to the typical 9–5, Monday–Friday workweek. It might allow for different daily start and end times or even a compressed four-day workweek. Employees who can customize their work hours can better manage their time and focus on their tasks.
If you plan on allowing a flexible work arrangement in your workplace, you need to create a proper flexible work schedule policy to ensure that expectations are clear. Download and customize our free flexible work policy example; plus, learn the types of flexible work schedules, as well as laws to keep in mind and other considerations.
What to Include in a Flexible Schedule Policy
Flexible work schedules may only work for particular roles, which is why defining when and to whom it applies is necessary. Your policy should include the types of flexible work schedules available, who is eligible, and any probationary or renewable processes.
1. Types of Flexible Work Schedules
Define in your flexible work schedule policy the types of schedules that your company will allow for flexible work. Below are a few flexible work schedule policy types. Take note that not all will work for every company, and you may need to take some ideas from one example and some from another to build your company’s policy.
Although these work schedule types can apply to both in-office and remote employees, a flexible work schedule is not the same as remote work or work from home. For more information on those, check out these resources:
2. Who Is Eligible
Your flexible work schedule policy should clearly outline who is eligible to participate. If you are making flexible work schedules available to your entire staff, then state that in your policy. Otherwise, you need to outline who is eligible to participate; for instance, the type of job roles eligible.
Additionally, you want to make sure your policy states that eligibility may be on a case-by-case basis and may be determined by certain factors. For instance, in order to be eligible for flexible schedules, all work must be completed in a timely manner. A statement like the one below should be included.
Considerations for eligibility may include the impact on the department, whether the employee’s duties require their presence in the office or during certain hours, and the employee’s historical performance, among other factors.
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, such as with job sharing, then you may be able to offer more flexibility with your scheduling. By providing this benefit to employees, your company gains more loyalty and dedication from your team.
Alternatively, certain jobs may not be suitable for a flexible work schedule. Some duties require people to be available during certain times of the workday, so working off-hours wouldn’t be conducive to company productivity.
Depending on the type of industry in which your company operates, you may have workers whose job duties would make it difficult for them to work anywhere but your location. For these workers, the flexibility you may offer is quite limited, such as with their arrival and departure times.
3. Probationary and Renewal Process
Once you have laid out the terms and conditions of your flexible work schedule policy, you should notify employees of a probationary period. Typically, this would be a 6-month period where the employee would be on probation to determine if the working conditions are working for both the employee and the employer. After the probationary period, a review of the employee’s work performance should be evaluated every year to determine if the flexible work schedule should continue.
Consider the following language in your flexible work arrangement policy.
Upon approval of the employee’s flexible work schedule request, a six-month trial period will apply to assess the impact and effectiveness of the arrangement. After successful completion of the trial period, the flexible work schedule shall be reviewed at least annually to ensure continued success.
It is advised to have a disclaimer in your flexible work schedule policy that notifies employees that not all positions are eligible for this arrangement. You can use the following disclaimer or customize it to meet your specific needs.
Flexible work schedules are not possible for all positions at [Company Name]. We do not intend the flexible work schedule options under this policy to be a universal employee benefit. The nature of the employee’s core duties and responsibilities must be conducive to a flexible work schedule without causing significant disruption to [Company Name].
Applicable Laws for Flexible Work Schedules
While there are no federal guidelines or restrictions on flexible work schedules, companies should still adhere to all other employment laws. Generally, what you do for one employee, you want to do for all.
Regardless, you must ensure that your company remains compliant, no matter which flexible work option you choose. Be sure to have your policy reviewed by an employment lawyer to ensure compliance with any labor laws.
Pros & Cons of a Flexible Work Schedule Policy
From employee retention to increased morale, there are many advantages to implementing a flexible work policy. However, flexible work schedules also have some disadvantages for employers too. Considering these pros and cons before implementing a policy will help guide you to know what you do and do not want in a policy.
|Attracts and retains top talent||Lack of accountability|
|Improves employee morale||Can lead to decreased communication and teamwork|
|Reduces the need for special accommodations||Creates liability and security issues|
|Provides clear expectations||Drop in employee engagement for ineligible employees|
Tips for Implementing a Flexible Work Schedule
One significant 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. Follow these tips when implementing your flexible work schedule policy.
- Ensure Accountability – When implementing your policy, you should make sure your employees understand what productivity looks like. Let them know that they will still be held accountable for producing high-quality work in a timely manner, as well as being accountable for their KPIs and performance metrics.
- Allow Autonomy – If possible, let your employees develop their own flexible schedules. You can review the schedule and adjust it to determine if the schedule works for your company and the position the employee has.
- Track Hours – You should continue, or implement, tracking hours to ensure work is being accomplished and your employees are sticking to their flexible schedule.
- Be Flexible – Some of your employees may not be eligible for a flexible schedule that allows them to work from home, however, try to be flexible and include every position at least in some capacity. For instance, you could allow essential workers to adjust their hours, as long as your business is covered during needed hours.
- Train Managers – In order for your flexible schedule to be effective your managers should be trained to handle all performance and employee management issues.
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 suits your company culture and makes your team the most productive.