Posted on June 12, 2013

The days get longer, the temperature gets hotter and being inside gets less and less appealing as employees glance longingly out their windows, yearning to get out and enjoy the summer sun. This season, employers are accommodating the widespread employee request for a more flexible summer schedule.

Whether it’s compressing a 40-hour week into four days instead of five, starting and ending the workday at times other than the traditional 9:00-5:00, or allowing employees to work from home to reduce long commutes and childcare costs, the implementation of summer work arrangements is becoming more popular. For example, Kraft Foods, Texas Instruments and First Tennessee Bank have all adopted alternative schedules during the warmer months.

Though proven to increase employee motivation, morale and retention, a flexible summer schedule must be implemented correctly—recognizing both the organization’s goals and employees’ needs. Following the 5 C’s of Alternative Scheduling will help you successfully implement a flexible schedule this summer:

  1. Create a detailed and comprehensive agreement that ensures employees will continue to get their work done despite flexible or reduced hours. The specifics of this schedule are between the employer and the employee, but should be clearly set and agreed upon in every case. Establishing clear policies protects against any negative effects on productivity.

  2. Be Consistent. If a flexible work schedule is available to one group of employees, it should be an option for all. One of the key goals of this system is to give employees a sense of control over their time in the summer months. However, limiting summer hour opportunities to a specific group may leave other workers feeling underappreciated—possibly undermining the overall positive effects of summer scheduling. In addition, once an alternative summer scheduling policy has been agreed upon, be sure to consistently follow it.

  3. Coordinate who takes advantage of their summer schedule and when they plan to be out of the office. Adequate staff needs to be available regardless of the season, and alternative hours cannot take a toll on overall productivity and customer satisfaction. Supervisors need to coordinate employee schedules to ensure work is still getting done.

  4. Communicate with employees to make sure everyone is on the same page with what is expected and what alternative schedule arrangements are allowed. Listening to what employees need is the key to drafting an alternative summer schedule that employees will appreciate and in turn, adhere to.

  5. Check in with employees taking advantage of the alternative summer schedule to make sure their work is getting done and their progress is on track. Performance should be monitored and reviewed closely when the alternative schedule is being used. Also, gather feedback as to how the alternative schedule is working and where there is room for improvement.

In addition to these five best practices, a flexible scheduling arrangement relies on the right technology for success. Paycor’s Time and Attendance offers accurate time tracking, employee scheduling, manager self-service and reports to give you visibility into how time is really being spent. A time and attendance system is a key element in making an alternative schedule work. Make sure you’re equipped with the right tools to implement a flexible schedule this summer: learn more by contacting us today.

Sources: Forbes, Rollins University, SHRM, The Wall Street Journal, HR Info Desk, Benefits Pro, Gazette.com, Flexible Workforce