5 Essential Tips to Manage a Flexible Schedule
Companies all over the world are racing to adapt to the socially distanced norms of our continuing-to evolve economy. Millions of people have been working a fully remote schedule since mid-March.
During the ongoing pandemic, companies have been required to rethink the logistics of their daily operations to accommodate to this new workplace landscape. Employees had to adapt to new processes as quickly and efficiently as possible to not hinder the customer experience.
Way back in March, we thought this would be a few weeks of quarantine and then things would be back to normal. But now, working parents are increasingly finding flexible scheduling to be a non-negotiable job requirement, as schools across the country start the school year, transitioning to blended learning or fully-online education.
Even after the COVID-19 crisis is long over, remote and flex schedules are likely here to stay. And maybe that’s for the best. Today’s workers know that most in-person meetings can be done virtually, and that telecommuting can actually boost their efficiency and performance. Even if it was possible to return to the pre-pandemic status quo, many employees — and their employers — wouldn’t see much benefit to going back.
Flexible scheduling is becoming the new normal, but this doesn’t mean it’s an easy transition. The vast majority of management advice and wisdom assumes people are working the same set hours in a physical office. Many executives and managers may not actually know how to manage a distributed, virtual team, each working their own individual schedules.
Yet, there are teams out there (like ours) that have successfully run a distributed workforce for years. In this post, we’re going to look at five proven tips for managing teams on a flexible schedule.
It’s all about communication.
One of the biggest challenges managers face with remote and flex workers is staying on top of assignments, progress, and deadlines. It seems so easy to pop over to an employee’s desk, or call them in for a face-to-face update in a physical office. Yet, it just doesn’t feel the same to do that over a video chat. Managing workers with flexible schedules means learning how to use the technology to enhance communication, rather than stifle it. Short videos chats, in-app messaging, and shared documents make it much easier to keep everyone on task, and it’s far more efficient than simply calling them all in for another status update. This will help manage a flexible schedule.
Establish a routine.
Part of the appeal of a flexible schedule is that it can be shaped on a per-employee basis. One worker may need to be away from their desk every afternoon to pick their kids up from school, for instance, while another may need to put in four 10-hour days. No matter the situation, it’s important to clearly define a schedule and routine for each worker. This helps set expectations for everyone involved and eliminates any confusion about deadlines, meeting times, and other essential tasks.
If you are thinking that they way your business operates, you cannot have a flex schedule for employees, ask yourself why. Some companies may need their team working at specific times. However, sometimes managers are just used to things being done a certain way. This is the time to really dig into the whys and see what makes the most sense for everyone.
It’s still a workday, even at home.
When your workers are on the clock, they need to be available to you. In a flex work context, this means establishing clear ground rules for your team’s availability. Continued professionalism in appearance is also important, as the work-from-home setting can cause some people to lose sight of the “business” part of “business casual.” Be reasonable, of course, but don’t be afraid to enforce the rules when appropriate.
Use the right management tools.
As disruptive as the COVID-19 crisis has been, from a business perspective it could have been much worse. Imagine how much worse this would with the business technology of the 1990s!
Thanks to newer tools like project management software, video conferencing, and cloud-based CRM and ERP solutions, it’s possible to do at least some essential business operations remotely. Companies that can unite these systems, manage their flexible schedule workers, and establish remote-ready workflows will have a serious competitive advantage in the coming years. Take this time to master these tools, and to build new systems that leverage the strengths of your flex workers and remote teams.
While some flex schedule workers may slack off without strong, in-person oversight, a surprising number of them will actually perform better. Working from home makes them more focused, and without the drag of the daily commute, they may actually have more energy to get things done. This is behavior that you want to encourage and reward. Consider using a gamified system, like our Splash plugin, to create incentives for your flex workers to hit their goals, build their skills, and make the most of their workdays.
In a few years, the old workplace model of long daily commutes and strictly enforced 9-to-5 hours may start to seem like a strange cultural relic of another era. Why not use this time to build a better, optimized workplace for the Digital Age? FayeBSG can show you how. We can equip you with the tools to help manage a flexible schedule.
Contact us today for a free consultation on getting exceptional results from your remote and flexible schedule workers.
Related Blog Posts
In today’s competitive business landscape, the power of data-driven sales and analytics cannot be ignored. Data...Read More
Faye Business Systems Group Earns a Spot on Inc. Magazine’s Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private...Read More
Having a business requires that you stay on top of your game – always. It also...Read More