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Stretches for a flexible workplace

Every muscle works to support body movements in daily tasks. The stronger and more flexible a muscle is, the faster and smoother the body moves, and in the end, you perform even more demanding tasks. Imagine that your workplace is the body and your colleagues are the muscles responsible for its harmonic operation. Now, how do you stretch those muscles to build a fully productive and adaptable workplace?

flexible workplace

For muscles, there are stretching exercises; for employees, there are flexibility options. In this tutorial you will learn ways to create a flexible workplace to meet your needs and improve your company’s overall performance.

Let’s begin!

  1. Warm up
  2. Flextime stretches
  3. Flexplace stretches
  4. Insights from those who did it
  5. Ready-to-roll policy templates

Warm up

Just like every body, every company too has its own strengths and needs. Hence, as a warm up, you should identify the strengths and needs of your own company.

Begin with a body scan:

  1. First of all, listen to employees. Survey them using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. Are they interested in a flexible workplace? What kind of flexibility would be ideal for them?
  2. Do a ‘jobs’ audit. Make note of all jobs in the company and determine which job can be done remotely and which ones require physical presence.
  3. Do a company tech audit. Determine whether your company has all the tech tools and capabilities to work in a virtual workplace.
  4. Check employees’ locations, time zones, and common hours where work days overlap. Determine which roles can operate asynchronously.
  5. Think about how potential stretches will affect customers, and weigh the outcomes.
  6. Set goals. These can either be aligned to pre-existing business goals (e.g. increase in revenue) or entirely new (e.g. increase in productivity). Make sure you’re quickly able to track and measure the results.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you should have an in-depth understanding of your company’s muscles. Now it’s time to examine your options before choosing the best stretches for your future workplace.

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Flextime stretches

So what is flextime?

Flextime is a work arrangement between the employer and employee that allows the employee to define the workday’s starting and finishing time. According to the U.S. Department of Labor:

“A flexible work schedule is an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. It allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times. Under some policies, employees must work a prescribed number of hours a pay period and be present during a daily ‘core time.’ The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not address flexible work schedules. Alternative work arrangements such as flexible work schedules are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative).”

Simple as it may sound, there are multiple variations of flextime all aiming to create a flexible workplace and boost employee wellbeing by providing work-life balance options. Let’s see some examples:

  • Weekly flextime. In this arrangement, employees can determine a steady work hour schedule that will apply from Monday to Friday (eg. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
  • Daily flextime. This arrangement allows employees to choose their weekly work schedule by day and apply it in general (eg. Monday – 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., Tuesday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. etc.).
  • Unlimited flextime. With this option staff works with a free schedule as long as each worker fills a 40-hour work week (eg. Monday – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays off, etc.).
  • Flexyear. When an employee has to work a certain amount of hours per year, but is able to schedule it at will (e.g. 2,080 hours per year).
  • Lunch flextime. With this option employees can determine their lunch break length and therefore their work time (e.g. half an hour, one hour, two hours long).

Flexplace stretches

What’s the right place?

Well, you can let employees decide this one.

Flexplace is an arrangement which allows employees to work full-time or part-time from home or a different location.

Not only did COVID-19 lead 62.2% of companies to transition to a fully remote environment, 71.1% say that remote is here to stay. Even though operating fully in a virtual workplace is an option that many companies have adopted, it’s not the only one. Let’s see all the alternatives:

  • Remote working. As already known, remote work enables employees to work full-time from anywhere in the world. Local labor laws do need to be considered, however.
  • Telecommuting. Telecommuting is a combination of employees’ physical and virtual presence, either part-time or full-time. This is mostly convenient for companies with personnel living locally and can be shaped as:
    • Time shifts where some hours require presence at the office and the rest of work transitions at home.
    • Day shifts where some days per week all or part of the workforce is able to work remotely, typically from home.
    • Weekly shifts where employees in turn work from the office and an off-site location.
    • Short-term telecommuting where, during holidays, employees can work in a different location for a set amount of time.

A piece of advice

To get more insights we raised the matter to the larger community. We looked for those who operate in a flexible workplace and asked them to bring up their own experience with not-that-typical working hours and give some advice to those who are thinking of implementing flexible policies.

Here’s a selection of what some of our respondents said:

  • John Doherty, CEO & Founder of Credo: “I believe in a ‘get your work done’ environment, and if you work and value to the company takes fewer than 40 hours then that’s great for you!”
  • David McHugh, CMO at Crediful: “Being a remote company with employees all working from home in different time zones, we don’t have any work-hour policies. Which is to say, we have the most flexibility there is.”
  • Glen Wilde, CEO & Founder of Diet to Success: “If you give employees the luxury of increased flexibility, they’ll know not to abuse that privilege since they don’t want to force the manager’s hand at returning to a more rigid schedule.”
  • Andres Aguero, SEO Strategist at Barbeques Galore: “Listen to your employees and see what makes them comfortable. Different people are productive in different environments.”
  • Alan Borch, CEO & Founder of DotcomDollar: “You can opt for a time tracker if you would like to monitor your workers but I prefer simple documentation. I want my workers to feel at ease because the less stress they have, the better the work-quality becomes.”
  • Savannah Thieneman, Marketing Manager at Slingshot: “I usually work from 8:30-ish to 5:30-ish. This allows me to add an extra-hour per day, making my Friday a half-day.”
  • Katie & Medra, Agents at Liveops: “Liveops agents are able to select their own shifts throughout the day in 30 min increments, allowing for total flexibility and control over their schedules.”

Ready to roll policy templates

Have you decided on how to stretch your company towards a more flexible workplace? Here is a list of flexible policy templates to quickly adjust and apply:

Before you go

Each and every one of us is dreaming of an ideal flexible workplace. Think about your own priorities and ask around to see what your colleagues’ aspirations are. After that, it will be easier to choose the right ‘stretches’ for your team.

But before you go, bear in mind that people change and, along with them, their motivations; so what works now, won’t always work. So keep your finger on that pulse and stay fit!

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