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The Ins and Outs of Telecommuting and Flexible Schedule Policies

In a business environment in which many employees routinely bring along

work on vacations and make themselves accessible during weekends and

other off-hours, the line between work and home becomes blurred. By

incorporating flexible work schedules and telecommuting, an employer

might find that employees are more productive and satisfied and

experience less conflict between work time and personal obligations.

To successfully implement and manage a flexible work schedule and/or a

telecommuting policy in the workplace, it is imperative that managers

weigh the benefits against any disadvantages of such programs.

Access a Work From Home Template Agreement

Working remotely

Some roles are equally successful and practicable whether an individual

is based in the office location or from a remote one. Other positions,

especially those that are reliant upon face-to-face meetings with

clients or colleagues, might best remain as office-based jobs.

A position that is typically telephone- or computer-based can be housed

in any location. Thanks to email and instant messaging, employers

typically will not be disadvantaged by allowing individuals to work

remotely.

The key with this arrangement is to clearly define expectations of the

work schedule, outline number of work hours per week and emphasize

accountability. Telecommuting employees should use their electronic

communications as a means of regular accessibility during their work

hours. It is also suggested that managers reach out to remotely

located employees on a routine basis to ensure the employees are

engaged in their work duties and that the manager is accessible for

support when needed.

Flexible scheduling

A flexible work schedule refers to allowing employees to work shifts

other than the standard 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday time period.

Employees who work a flexible schedule might bring to an organization

a variety of benefits, including:

* Decreased absenteeism and tardiness

* Greater accessibility to customers

* Improved morale

* Increased productivity

When implementing a flexible work schedule, it is important that the

employer clearly expresses expectations regarding the number of hours

the employee is to work. Establishing the hours per business day is

another suggestion, as this clarifies the workplace rules and benefits

employees by informing them of co-workers’ availability.

Benefits for both employer and employee

Other benefits of telecommuting and flexible schedules are cost related;

flexible schedules and telecommuting should not pose a financial

liability to an organization. In fact, the opposite may ring true.

Employers who permit flexible work schedules and/or telecommuting

often see a decrease in employee turnover. Some of the most common

factors affecting employee resignations involve work/life balance.

Employers who are able to successfully implement creative work schedules

without compromising the operations of their business establish

themselves as an employer of choice for individuals who value

flexibility and telecommuting when searching for an ideal new job.

In establishing a telecommuting and/or flexible work schedule policy, it

is imperative that the policy and the expectations are clearly

communicated and that the policy is consistently applied to all

employees eligible to participate. It is also important to take into

consideration any factors that would negate the program, whether for the

employer as a whole or for an individual employee.


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