Boost Employee Engagement With Flexible Schedules

by Dora Wang on Jan 12, 2015 5:00:00 AM

Boost Employee Engagement With Flexible SchedulesDo you offer nontraditional work arrangements to your employees? From flexible schedules to working remotely, these options are becoming increasingly common. If you’re not on board yet, you might be missing out.

Wondering what all the fuss is about? It’s easy to think that you’re just moving the same old workday to a different time or place. But it turns out that there are unique advantages to these arrangements that make your employees happier and more engaged.

Change The “When”

If you let an employee choose their own schedule, you might just think you’re getting the same eight hours, pushed a little earlier or later. But it’s not a one-to-one exchange. Later start times can change the amount of sleep your employees get. Workers who start at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. get an average of almost 1.5 hours more sleep than workers who start at 6:00 a.m.

What does this mean for companies? Well, not getting enough sleep hurts productivity and also personal well-being. So not only do well-rested employees do better work, but they’re healthier and happier too.

It’s not just about sleep. Flexibility in hours can also help workers with families and other personal obligations. If they don’t have to worry about how they’ll have time to pick up the kids from school or do their weekly volunteering gig, they’ll be able to give more when they’re at work.

Change The “Where”

Nowadays, portable technology makes telecommuting possible from almost anywhere. Employees can work while traveling, waiting for a delivery at home, or just getting out of the office for a change of scenery.

Just like with flexible schedules, remote work means more than just the same work done in a different place. Compared to their on-site colleagues, telecommuting employees work an average of four more hours per week. Perhaps the added comfort of being able to work wherever they want gives them more energy. Or maybe employees enjoy being able to use their time working instead of commuting.

Even if remote employees work the same number of hours as others, what happens in those hours is different. 70% of employees report improved productivity when telecommuting. As for employee engagement? It’s higher for them than for on-site workers.

A Long-Term Investment

Not only will these flexible work arrangements give you more productive and engaged employees, but you’ll enjoy them for longer. A Cornell University study found that these options helped reduce turnover rates—to the tune of one-third the rate of other, less flexible organizations.

Employee engagement isn’t just about what happens within a set of standard hours at the office. Even if your workers are on the other side of the city or in their own personal time zone, they can be more connected to their work than if they were locked in a specific schedule. Be flexible enough to give them flexibility, and you’ll reap the rewards.

 

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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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