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The Manager’s Guide to Flexible Work Options

Gone are the days when employers thought flexible work options were only beneficial to employees. Sure, flex is a win/win for employees, since it allows them to work remotely (no more commuting!), save money (i.e., by not having to buy lunches, office attire, commuting costs, etc.), and gives them the ultimate in work-life balance, allowing them to customize their schedule based on the needs of their day.

But flexible work options hold many advantages (if not more) for employers. It’s estimated that employers save, on average, about $11,000 annually for each remote worker. These substantial savings come from reduced office space, utility bills, office equipment, and more. The real savings, though, comes from having a remote workforce, which has been shown, time and time again, to be more productive, more engaged, and happier than traditional office staffers.

So after seeing the many, many benefits that flexible work offers employers, your company has finally realized that work flex is good for business and has agreed to implement a flexible work policy. But before you send all your in-office employees packing and headed towards their home offices, you need to understand the different types of flexible work options and what staffers would work best in each of these roles.

Telecommuting

When an employee telecommutes, it can be either in a full-time or part-time capacity. Keep in mind that a telecommuting job doesn’t always mean that an employee will be working from his home office, though. Some telecommuters will work in coworking spaces, outside in public places like a local coffee house, or even from the beach!

For this type of flexible job, it’s best to hire someone who already has remote work experience, since working from home can have a learning curve (i.e., learning how to self-manage, be disciplined, and handle being lonely sometimes).

Flexible Scheduling

Flexible schedules come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of job your employee holds, he might work some days in the office and the rest of the time remotely. Or, he might start his workday earlier and end it earlier to avoid a crushing commute to and from the office.

A flexible schedule job could be a good fit for an employee who has put in a work-from-home request. It’s a good way to test if your employee can successfully segue from office life to home office life. Flexible schedules are also ideal for working parents (particularly working mothers, who often need more flex in their schedules to take care of sick kids or attend school events), as well as caregivers.

Part-Time Work

A part-time position includes any job that is performed up to 30-35 hours per week. Part-time work can be done either in the office or in a telecommuting capacity, which would be determined by a manager and the employee.

Part-time work is ideal for someone who wants to continue working but doesn’t want the pressure of a full-time job. Someone who would thrive in this type of flexible work are older workers who want to keep working in their careers but at a reduced pace, as well as mothers returning to work after maternity leave (to help make the transition easier).

Compressed Workweeks

Much like its name implies, a compressed workweek is a typical 40-hour job that’s completed in four 10-hour shifts, as opposed to five days of working 9-5. The goal of a compressed workweek is to work the 40 hours in four days, leaving the fifth day, usually a Friday, free.

Compressed workweeks are good for employees who need to consistently have one day free (and hello, a three-day weekend!), and who do not mind working longer hours for the days that they are in the office. These jobs are sometimes done in-office and not remotely. Compressed workweeks can be grueling, so the ideal worker is someone who has the stamina to work 10-hour days.

Job sharing

In job sharing, two part-time employees split the duties of one full-time position. The job might be one that was originally slated for one worker, but due to changes in the company or responsibilities of the position, has now transformed into a job done by two workers.

Job sharing is a good fit for employees who want to work part-time but have a job that is full-time. Since workers will be working very closely together, it’s important that the employees can work well together and are always in sync. Since job sharing can be tricky, it is best for people who have job shared in the past, or are true team players and work well with others.

Knowing the many options that flexible work provides can give managers the head start they need in order to successfully plan out their flexible work program! Once you know your options, you can hire qualified candidates from anywhere in the world to fill those positions—and take your company to the next level.

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