by Nancy Gee
Convince your supervisor that flexible hours can raise morale and increase productivity.
| Turn your job into a dream job. That’s right. You can convince your boss to restructure your job into the perfect job for you. Especially, if a pay increase is not your bone of contention. If your work schedule flexed, would you be happier? Less stressed? Less inclined to look for another job? After all, the big question remains unanswered – which is busier, more demanding, your personal life or professional career? Whether you transport children to music lessons, sporting events, or sleepovers, provide care for an elderly parent, baby sit the grandchildren, or work at starting your own business, flexible work hours would be a great benefit. Right? Well, use these pointers to convince your boss flextime is a good thing.
First, look at the nature of your job and whether flextime is feasible. Customer service, security, and assembly line workers are less likely to secure a flexible work schedule than are accounts payable, payroll, human resources, or inventory control employees. The key is devising a plan to offer adequate job coverage when employees are away from work. When job responsibilities require constant monitoring, provide coverage with adequate cross training. Collaborate with other department members having similar limitations. Create a workable solution, and then present your ideas to management.
Be well informed about the different types of flextime and decide which type you are going to request. The key here is remaining sensitive to the company’s needs. But, be creative with your request. Will you be requesting a shortened workweek, staggered work schedules, or varying work intervals throughout the day? Then, show management you have thought through the proposal by preparing a department schedule ahead of time preferably one which incorporates a window where all workers are present like 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. or 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The easiest schedule for companies to manage is the standard 40-hour week with early/late start and stop times. Alternatives include three 10-hour days and two 5-hour days.
Next, be willing to offer management a testing period. A reasonable trial run could last for three months and opens the door for the company to raise a slough of issues and reasons why the new schedules are not working. Crucial to the testing success is employee patience. Keep in mind there are internal issues managers must contend with, and as an associate vying for a new benefit, you must be willing to dissipate those issues. Be patient. Don’t be too quick to throw up your surrender flag. When management raises an issue, tackle each one by offering two or three good solutions. Managers need a high comfort level that the work is continuing; especially those who are used to watching employees perform.
Be prepared to help the company police the new system. Make an agreement within your department that shirking and abuse is unacceptable. List the actions any department member can take against another if slackers threaten flextime. Enforcements such as ‘majority rule’ or ‘two or more in agreement’ tacked on to the list of actions will eliminate surprises.
Pointing out the benefits the company will reap is another flextime selling point. Flextime is a worthwhile benefit to offer when attraction and retention efforts are financially strapped. According to an article by Kevin Sweeney, Employee Benefit News, March 2003, BenefitNews.com, stress levels are up from five years ago for 80% of U.S. workers. Giving employees schedule control can help reduce stress and absenteeism while increasing loyalty and worker productivity Work responsibilities often collide with the demands of children or aging parents. Flextime offers employees control over personal obligations and may result in increased longevity: a benefit, which will reduce training costs.
Remember flextime is a two-sided coin. The company has one side and employees have another. A well planned flextime proposal will consider the nature of the job, allow for adequate job coverage, request a specific type of flexibility, and start with a trial run. In addition, employers will look for policing options, an acceptable amount of simultaneous hours, and gains for the company. When both company and associate make an effort to work through the issues, flextime can be a great benefit for both parties.