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Employers worldwide have experimented with remote work and flexible arrangements for years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced managers to implement remote work systems and technologies. Though the dynamics of work life are in a constant ebb and flow, remote work is here to stay. Now, it’s up to employers to ask the question: “How can we make this better?”
Here are a few key areas to review and improve if you want to hold on to your top talent.
Getting hybrid work from scrambled to systematized
Managing the ever-expanding horizon of work means employers must adapt to their employees’ changed reality. But this adaptation doesn’t restrict employers. You can set reliable schedules and build a supporting framework that drives productivity.
Remote work policies
Before you can arrange a hybrid work schedule, you must create policies that support the shifts you lay out. Remote work is a part of your business structure and employee experience. You can’t let a hybrid work model exist without rules, procedures, and requirements. If you lack formal policies and documentation yet require ill-equipped employees to show up for set shift schedules, you could face legal issues if something unfortunate happens.
Avoid this unpleasantness by setting clear policies for remote and hybrid working staff that align with any applicable workforce laws, regulations, and guidance. This might include disclaimers for at-home or off-premises injuries during work hours, physical safety and cybersecurity requirements for work-from-home employees, and workday availability during set hours.
Criteria for flexible arrangements
As the employer, you have the final say on your hybrid work model. You have the freedom to set firm but reasonable criteria for flexible work arrangements. For an employee to work remotely, they should meet a set of standards prior to their first flex shift. Here are a few examples to consider:
- Can their work be done online? Employees should only be allowed to work remotely if their work can be performed from anywhere without affecting productivity or collaboration.
- Do they have fast, reliable internet? Without a steady internet signal, it will be nearly impossible for your employees to complete tasks on time – not to mention hold a steady video call with clients and co-workers.
- Do they have the right demeanor? The employees themselves should be disciplined, reliable, and organized so that you can expect timeliness without physical supervision.
Now, with these standards come opportunities for support as an employer. Consider the case of the employee fraught with internet problems. You could set up a remote employee benefit that includes monthly resources to supplement higher internet bills with a faster, more reliable provider.
Or think about the employee without defined key performance indicators (KPIs). Managers can set clear KPIs that fit within the hybrid work model to ensure a disciplined and organized approach to daily work.
No matter how you select your remote employees, follow hybrid work best practices for optimal results that make flexible arrangements a viable long-term option.
Employee scheduling systems
Whether people work in the office or remotely, managers are on the hook for handling the varied needs of a split workforce. One of the consistent pain points for employers is scheduling shifts and tracking hours when people no longer clock into the physical workspace.
That’s where workforce scheduling software comes in. Your hybrid work schedule needs a digital space to account for on- and off-site staff. With user-friendly software for employee time tracking, you can equip people to clock in and out no matter where they are.
Using software for scheduling also creates higher visibility for employers. You can see who’s clocked in and for how long every day. These types of employee scheduling systems benefit businesses with remote employees, off-site workers, and flexible staff. When managers must monitor employee clock-ins and oversee off-site logistics, software for employee time tracking comes in handy.
Employee mental health
Regardless of your strategic workforce planning initiatives, the future of employee experience involves a keen awareness of employee mental health. If you want to schedule a boundaryless workforce, you must account for employees’ psychological and emotional needs.
When your staff is overworked, productivity drops, morale decreases, and work feels onerous. You can avoid a deteriorating workforce by prioritizing mental health care and advocacy. In our 2022 Pulse of Talent report, we found that employees want formal support for their mental health. In fact, 81% of respondents worldwide reported experiencing burnout, with more than a third noting extreme burnout symptoms.
The pervasiveness of these mental health issues begs the question: Just how, exactly, are employees becoming burnt out?
The 2022 Pulse of Talent survey cited several culprits including increased workload, pressuring deadlines, working too many hours, and unsupportive leadership. If you want to have a successful and thriving flexible work arrangement, you must address the associated mental health factors. Otherwise, you may experience a significant increase in absenteeism among your hybrid workers.
Scheduling strategies within hybrid work models
Knowing how to create a hybrid work schedule that works for you is one thing, but implementing one is quite another. Explore these tips for creating better scheduling habits.
Consult hybrid workers from the outset
Giving your employees a voice is a surefire way to improve employee retention and engagement, especially among a partly or fully remote workforce. If you already have hybrid workers, you should consult with them. The more you involve your people from the outset of the new scheduling process, the easier it will be for people to adapt.
Educate about scheduling software for scheduling
Your workforce scheduling software may come with a small learning curve. Though employee time and attendance tracking are relatively straightforward, you’ll need to educate staff on how to clock in and out at the right times. With a mix of resources like educational sessions, how-to videos, and quick-fix reference sheets, you can give your staff all the tools they need to learn about the new software for employee time tracking.
Establish clear communication channels
Everyone wants to know their upcoming schedule as early as possible. Picking children up from school, scheduling social outings, conducting administrative housekeeping – your employees have other tasks and events that eat up their time. Knowing when they need to show up for work helps them manage private life activities and decrease calendar-related stress.
One of the most important hybrid work best practices is establishing clear communication channels. When an employee knows their manager will respond to their question promptly – and vice versa – setting next week’s schedule transforms from a burdensome task that drags on to a quick conversation with a simple resolution.
Furthermore, you’ll likely find yourself rescheduling shifts as often as you schedule them. Whether it be sickness, paid time off (PTO), or last-minute absences, managers often lack fully staffed shifts. Clear communication channels within workforce scheduling software enables managers to fill shift vacancies as soon as they appear. And workers can refer to their chat and notifications to gather up-to-date scheduling information quickly.
Consistently review scheduling success
Strategic workforce planning is a cyclical process. You should revisit your hybrid scheduling tactics over time and see how things are going. Begin with weekly check-ins for the first month, then slow to monthly ones until full integration.
How effective is your time-tracking method? Are employees accessing information and schedules easily? Where are there opportunities for improvement or further education?
Questions like these help employers collect meaningful workforce metrics and analytics. The future of employee experience at your company shouldn’t rely on gut feelings or ambiguous generalities. Harness the data at your fingertips to assess the flexible work arrangement at its core.
Tracking employee experience data: A quick aside
Data is a powerful tool, but you also need a powerful tool to collect and apply it. When you choose software for employee scheduling, be sure to choose one with workforce metrics and analytics capabilities.
A great method for conducting reliable research is to design a simple survey to measure employee satisfaction. Explore the questions above and pinpoint the positives and challenges of your new tool. The simple act of asking will give you the information you need to incrementally boost this aspect of your staff’s work life. Which, in turn, can lead to better employee retention and engagement.
Now that you have a general scope and process for how to create a hybrid work schedule that works for you, it’s time to explore your options and start preparing for a better work life. Learn more about how the right workforce scheduling software can benefit your hybrid workforce.