October is National Work and Family Month. During this time, businesses across the U.S. are asked to promote healthier and more flexible work environments.
Today, both our families and workforces come in all shapes and sizes. Employers need to provide flexible work environments for workers of all ages.
Many older adults need to work longer or return to the workforce due to changes in their family makeup. Whether individuals are feeling the financial strain from a divorce or taking on raising grandchildren, the number of older workers in America is growing.
This October, we are helping employers find ways to promote work-life balance at their businesses. Here are five tips to foster a flexible workplace for your employees.
5 Ways to create a flexible work environment
Employers large and small can benefit from providing an inclusive and flexible workplace. Try these five tips for businesses that want to provide flexible workplaces.
1. Provide the right tools
More work hours does not necessarily equal more productivity. Research shows that the average American worker only provides about three hours of productiveness per day, no matter how long they sit in an office. Other time is spent broken up between activities such as talking to co-workers or scrolling news feeds.
While three out of eight hours might seem like laziness, these breaks actually make the workday more manageable. They encourage employees to get back to work and be more productive.
As an employer, it’s your job to ensure that workers have the right tools to get the job done during the hours they are most productive. This includes making sure they have the appropriate hardware and software to work remotely or flexible schedules. Investing in these items will be well worth it in the long run.
2. Talk to your team
Creating a flexible work environment means making sure all of your employees are treated equally and fairly. To achieve this, consider talking to your team about what flexible work options work best for their lifestyles.
While you may not be able to please everyone, working the majority of your workforce’s wishes into your plan for a flexible workplace can help boost morale and make your efforts more effective.
Hold a meeting with your team to discuss different flexible options and provide time for employees to offer feedback. Because some team members may not feel comfortable expressing their opinions in an open forum, you may also want to send out an anonymous survey.
3. Take new ideas for a test drive
Some flexible work options may seem like a great fit, but when put into effect they do not turn out as planned. When introducing new procedures at your business, consider taking them for a trial run before implementing them permanently.
Be sure to communicate that the initiatives are temporary for the time being to your team so that everyone is on the same page. Set a specific date range for the trial period. When the final date approaches, you can decide whether the new policy was beneficial and take the next steps.
4. Provide training
Flexible work schedules may be new to many of your employees. Before initiating new policies, hold a training session and lay out your expectations. Be sure that all of your team members understand their part.
After implementing your flexible work environment policy, continue to provide training to employees. Regular training sessions are not only good reminders to help workers consistently be productive. They also encourage professional growth that helps strengthen your team and business.
5. Check in routinely
As we mentioned above, flexible work schedules may be new to your team. Reach out periodically to make sure your workforce is comfortable and productive with the changes.
That said, consider limiting meetings, which can be a big waste of time and productivity. When you need to communicate with employees, you might opt for emails, texts, or other messenger applications that create fewer interruptions in the workday than a blocked off meeting time.
Are you looking for productive employees for your business? Consider teaming up with the Senior Community Service Employment Program to find trained and motivated individuals. Connect with VANTAGE Aging today to find qualified candidates in 38 Ohio counties.
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