How to Give Employees With Rigid Schedules the Flexibility They Crave

Flexibility is the new 9 to 5. Millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, strongly desire flexibility as do the upcoming Generation Z, and together they’ve redefined what the word means.     

In the past, flexibility meant adjustable start and end times, compressed work weeks, and some telecommuting. Today, employees are seeking highly-adaptive flexibility that is conducive to last-minute schedule changes, like sick children, doctor appointments, travel and personal responsibilities or preferences that conflict with the traditional 9-to-5 schedule.

Much like the erosion of the hard line between work and personal time with the advent of 24-hour connectivity, the traditional work week continues to evolve.

Most research links flexibility with increased employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity as well as stress reduction.

In a non-exempt work environment, often manufacturing, warehouse, production or customer facing, such as retail, call centers and healthcare, a flexible schedule isn’t conducive to the nature of the work. To compound matters, workplaces like these usually require a high level of interdependence making flexibility an even more elusive goal.

So, how can organizations and industries that require set work schedules compete?

Alternative strategies have been implemented with some success: float pools, job sharing, staggering start times and overlapping shifts have seen positive results, as have on-call registered nurses to help fill in scheduling “gaps.” But even with these accommodations employees are required to show up for set schedules.

Best Upon Request’s (BEST) work with medical, manufacturing and customer-facing employees has given us the experience of the struggle up front and center.  One customer, a single mom of two, shared with her employee concierge that “leadership is trying its hardest to accommodate my schedule, but my team suffers when I’m not here and I know management isn’t crazy about it, so I find a way to come in.”

Forward-thinking, ingenuitive organizations are finding ways to increase flexibility by redefining the word themselves. After experiencing consistently high turnover, a finance organization BEST works with implemented our corporate concierge program to relieve employees of the personal life stressors they were experiencing due to rigid work schedules. The results spoke for themselves, 56 percent of the staff is utilizing the service with a 100% satisfaction rate.

In partnership with BEST, healthcare organizations are experiencing the same success. Take a moment to watch how WellStar Health System earned national recognition after implementing our employee concierge program.

While you’re here let us know in the comments below what your biggest organizational struggles are in terms of flexibility.