Is your business going through a growth spurt? Adding new employees can be difficult, even for seasoned organizations. Beyond identifying the responsibilities of the new employee, there’s also the complexity of the hiring process. New hires can bring about infrastructure and logistical challenges for small and medium sized businesses. For example, will the employee need to be locally based, is there space in the current office to house additional workers, and what hours will the new employee work?
Today, we’re only going to tackle one potential solution to the issues above – when to consider a flexible workforce. Here are a few of the reasons your company might be ready to consider adding a flexible workforce:
- Your current office space is already at capacity.
- Your demand fluctuates by season.
- You want to reach a broader range of talent (i.e., expand beyond current geographic and skill set limitations).
- Your customers are widespread.
What does flexible working really mean? According to Wikipedia, flexible working is “a variable work schedule, in contrast to traditional work … 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Under flextime, there is typically a core period of the day (or certain days of the week), when employees are expected to be at work (for example, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), while the rest of the working day is “flextime”, in which employees can choose when they work, subject to achieving total daily, weekly or monthly hours, meeting employer expectations, and subject to the necessary work being done.” Flexible work plans may also extend to place, allowing “staff to determine where they will work.”
According to an article by Robert Boucher in The Guardian, the potential benefits of a flexible staff include: “a more efficient and productive organi[z]ation; a more empowered and motivated workforce; better customer service and increased customer loyalty; increased staff retention and attractiveness to potential employees; reduced levels of sickness absence; and working hours that best suit your employees and customers.”
All of these benefits sound great, right? But, having a flexible workforce does not come without drawbacks and other considerations that must be taken into account. Adding flex staff does require additional effort, particularly in regard to setting expectations and the amount of communication that needs to take place between your company and the employee. For some great insight into what goes into managing a flexible workforce, check out this article with tips from industry leaders – 17 tips on how to make flexible working work for your business.
Does your company have a flexible workforce? Are you considering the transition? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please share in the comment section below.