As a business owner, do you feel that time seems more scarce than ever? You face pressures of managing staff, keeping clients happy, finding new business, and resolving the daily operational hiccups that occur. All of these things challenge the boundaries of the 9 to 5 work day, right? We have help! In this article Aline from Ayoub HR, a leading HR Consulting Firm, shares with you 11 Proven Strategies to increase employee morale and performance.
If you’re stressed about time as a business owner, imagine how your employees might feel as they deal with both work and family demands, with the ever-present pressure to perform at work. No one is your boss so you can have a low productivity day and no one may notice. However your staff is paid to give work their full attention while on the clock. Yet many productive, experienced staff are also managing highly stressful demands on their personal lives that requires compassion from the business owner. Aline Ayoub, President of a leading HR Consulting Firm in Toronto reminds us that a progressive company culture recognizes that traditional working hours can sometimes be at odds with strong productivity and employee satisfaction.
Aline Ayoub recommends that business owners consider the 21st century business approach, which includes to flexible work schedules. This option can lower overhead, boost efficiency, and offer a much desired work-life balance to your staff.
Let’s explore what those options are and how they’ll work for your company.
Practical Ways to Apply Flex Time
A savvy business owner might consider offering employees flexible hours, reduced hours, staggered shifts, job sharing, and tele-commuting options. These options don’t work for everyone, and they might depend on specialized equipment or other proprietary considerations. An HR Consulting Firm such as Ayoub HR can help you identify specific opportunities to improve loyalty, productivity, and staff satisfaction within your organization.Mental health and morale
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to flexible hours. In fact, every workplace is different: the people doing the work, the work that needs to be done, the leaders running the organization and the size of the organization. However, the effect of flex hours is the same across all organizations. It’s been proven that working from home has positive effects on mental health. This results in decreased turnover, less absenteeism and better morale.
Job Sharing and Reduced Hours
Offer a full-time position to two part-time employees. Have them define efficient ways of updating each other. The salary and hours are both split based on percentage of time worked. Job sharing might help keep quality employees while avoiding complete layoffs. It also allows for fresh and diverse perspectives when people share a task. Part-time employees can spend less time in the office and still enjoy benefits and skill-building opportunities. Reduced-hour schedules can also cut down on unnecessary make-work projects designed to fill in the standard 7.5-hour shift.
Allow your employees to work different hours. For example: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; 1:00 pm-9:00 pm…you get the drill. You’ll have coverage for more of the day. This is especially helpful as more and more customers expect service around the clock or in different time zones. It also helps accommodate continuing education, volunteerism, family responsibilities, and business travel. Employees will feel safe to adjust their schedules without sneaking around. It’s also a boon for those who hit their productive stride outside regular office hours. Now a night owl can continue their late-night brainstorms without groaning about an early morning punch-in.
Compressed Work Weeks
Instead of the traditional Monday to Friday 5 day, 40-hour week, Aline Ayoub suggests that a compressed work-week, which allows longer hours and fewer days, can be an excellent solution for some employees. This is common with police and emergency response environments, as well as in manufacturing. Employees might work four 10-hour days and have a 3-day weekend. Another common version is to have three 12-hour days followed by two or more days off. Many consultants work longer days to meet the varied needs of their clients but take an extra day during the week for themselves. Days off do not necessarily have to be Saturday or Sunday.
Tele-Commute or Work from Home
Allowing some employees to work 1-2 days from home has been a great way to attract and retain a wider range of professional, advises Aline Ayoub . Set the guidelines, some measurable goals, and accountability measures and see performance improve. This is a win-win in many ways. The employee can save on commuting, clothing, and food expenses while the employer enjoys financial benefits including heightened productivity. Employees working from home experience less interruption and are much more productive as a result. Research by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom revealed some impressive findings after observing a large office where half the staff worked regular hours in-house, and the other half switched to tele-commuting. The tele-commuters reported feeling more fulfilled in their work, made 13.5% more calls than office workers, and performed 10% more work overall. There was also less turn-over from the tele-commuters.
Making Work-Life Balance a Priority in Your Company’s Culture
If your company can accommodate flex work options, you’ll empower your employees to balance the daily demands of life…both in and outside of work. It’s rewarding for existing staff, and checks a lot of boxes for qualified job seekers. It may even rank higher than salary when a star candidate is considering a job offer.
A recent study has shown that job seekers are choosing positions with flexible hours for four major reasons: work-life balance (79%), family (52%), time savings (48%), and decreased commuting stress (47%). The majority of respondents were ages 30-49 (54%), followed by those ages 50-59 (23%), and ages 20-29 (12%).
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to flexible hours. In fact, every workplace is different: the people doing the work, the work that needs to be done, the leaders running the organization, and the size of the organization. You’ll still need to define core hours, and which positions are eligible for these options. However, the upshot is the same across all organizations: positive effects on mental health, decreased turnover, less absenteeism, and better morale.
Flex Work Options: Custom Fit Solutions for Your Staff
Take a look around your organization. You’ll likely identify a diverse collection of cultures and generations all working towards your company’s goals. These groups have their own goals, though, and will have varying needs at different life stages. Consider these factors as you build an inclusive and supportive company culture.
New employees at any age want to make a good first impression. Young employees can bring great enthusiasm and fresh ideas but haven’t had a chance to prove themselves professionally yet. At the same time, they’re testing the playing field and are ready to move to another company if yours isn’t the right fit for their personal and professional growth. They’re willing to be nimble to follow new opportunities.
Suggestion: An employee in the early stages of their career might love the opportunity to job share or have job rotation to boost their experience. Tele-commuting also fits a nomadic lifestyle as they explore the world before putting down roots. According to a study by Bentley University, 77% of Millennial says a flexible work schedule allows them to be more productive.
Experienced and Established
These employees have been in the work force long enough to feel confident in their skills and bring steady, reliable contributions to their roles. They might be caring for young children and worrying about aging parents at the same time. They might also be exploring their own skill development with continuing education while saving money for their children’s university funds. With a mortgage and dependents, this cohort might feel locked in to their current work schedule.
Suggestion: An individual who rushes from daycare drop-offs, to doctor appointments, to dance recitals, to family emergencies, to night classes (phew!) could really use flexible hours. If it’s not crucial to be sitting at a desk from nine to five, this option lets a worker fit in all their responsibilities when time allows. Staggered shifts could also help align a family schedule with a spouse; reduced hours still provide a steady income while affording the employee time to deal with life.
Individuals with retirement in sight may want to start slowing down but still want to contribute. They carry great knowledge; to lose them altogether means your company will miss their intellectual contribution.
Suggestion: Reduced hours allow senior staff to stay involved while winding down. They might also appreciate tele-commuting: this generation is computer-savvy! They might be relieved to avoid a long commute after trudging through rush hour for several years.
Update HR Policies to Address Flexible Work Situations
Your policies will need to outline how to measure productivity, and what supports must the employer supply. For instance, will the employee be offered a laptop? Or access to a VPN for a remote connection? What are the expectations around availability if a manager or team member needs to communicate with that individual? Does your company have video conferencing capabilities for team meetings? Is there a need to clock in or is it more important to see finished results? Make some crucial decisions now to set those expectations.
Communicate these policies and clarify what happens if it doesn’t work out. Consider setting trial periods of a few months at a time, with the option of extending for those with a proven track record.
Some individuals may give these new ways of working a try and decide it’s not for them. Others might struggle without a clear directive and measurable goals. Extroverts might miss the daily interaction around the coffee machine while introverts will be glad for the chance to buckle down without distraction.
Make Flex Time Work for You
Set your staff up for success wherever and when ever they work; recognize that these situations may evolve over time. It might come down to tweaking your broad policies for individual situations. For more insights on how to incorporate flex work options into your business, reach out to Aline Ayoub, a top HR consultant in Toronto.
Your adoption of these techniques will create a revitalized work environment where employees will feel trusted and empowered to do their jobs without sacrificing their outside responsibilities and desires. Even by simply giving the option, it shows your staff you appreciate them as individuals and that you’re open to progressive thinking. By creating a culture of trust, you’ll soon discover there’s more time than you thought to achieve your business goals. And maybe, even take a little downtime for yourself.