The post-COVID-19 economy has presented businesses with loads of challenges, including a host of new workplace flexibility demands from job seekers. Today’s workforce is searching for jobs with more work-life balance than ever before. Some are even opting to work as independent contractors, allowing them the ability to choose their own schedules and work when, and if, they want.
While successful for companies like Uber and DoorDash, this arrangement is not practical for manufacturers, warehouses, and other light-industrial companies. However, there are some concepts, falling under the umbrella of workplace flexibility, that might be a perfect solution to the worker shortage currently facing American companies.
Workplace flexibility is the catch-all term for offering workers alternatives to regular 40-hour work weeks. Part-time schedules, flex-time, job-sharing, shift swapping, and split shifts are all familiar concepts, but, traditionally, have not been significantly utilized by light-industrial companies.
However, with the labor shortage showing no signs of slowing down and jobseekers increasingly reluctant or unable to work 8-plus hours, 5 or more days per week, now is the time to develop a workplace flexibility plan at your company.
Workplace flexibility can benefit both a company and its employees, by fostering work-life balance, reducing stress, and boosting well-being. This approach also accommodates personal commitments, broadens the talent pool, enhances morale, and most importantly, can improve productivity.
Workplace flexibility solutions can also help companies tap into a pool of talent that may not be able to work an 8-hour or 10-hour day due to family obligations or other situations.
“What we’re suggesting is, if you have the space and capacity but also have problems hiring and retaining full-time staff, consider alternative schedules,” said David Soileau, President of Automation Personnel Services.
“For instance, many parents, responsible for getting their children to and from school, can’t commit to working 8 hours every day but would otherwise be great employees,” added Soileau. “Why not allow that person to work 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. so they can drop their child off in the morning and be back in the pickup line at 3 p.m.”
Automation Personnel Services is collaborating with several clients right now to develop workplace flexibility plans and is currently recruiting talent who have jumped at the chance to work non-traditional schedules. For instance, our office in Cullman, Alabama, is providing talent working flexible schedules at a local plumbing manufacturer.
Julie Williams, Birmingham Branch Manager and its satellite office in Cullman said her client implemented a 9 a.m.-3:30 schedule in October and that the plan is working.
“It’s been very successful at this company in Cullman,” said Williams. “The HR Director emailed me recently and said since implementing flexible scheduling, they are 10 times more productive.”
Additionally, Williams mentioned that her contact reports the new employees are more motivated and highly skilled, helping the company increase production, reduce overall labor costs, and improve morale
“Before we implemented this schedule, working on Saturday was mandatory and they were working many hours of overtime during the week just to keep up,” said Williams.
“Now, the work is getting done during the week, so they have eliminated the need to work on Saturdays and much of the overtime Monday through Friday,” she added. “So, now their employees are getting Saturday and Sunday off, the work is getting completed, the employees are happier and more motivated, and the company has reduced its labor costs. It’s really been a win-win for everybody.”
With some real-world evidence to support the concept, Williams said that she is collaborating with another company in Cullman on a workplace flexibility program that she believes will be implemented soon.
While workplace flexibility plans can be put in place for anyone, they are especially helpful for parents who need to balance work with childcare responsibilities. Examples of workplace flexibility solutions include:
Enable 4–6-hour workdays for parents managing family commitments.
Allow varying start and end times (e.g., 6 am-9 am) for an 8-hour workday.
Permit longer hours on fewer days, like a 4-day, 10-hour shift for family-friendly schedules.
Two parents share one full-time role, dividing responsibilities and schedules for flexibility and balance.
Parents can work as needed, filling in during peaks or when available.
Allow employees to swap shifts for accommodation of personal commitments within a team.
Parents work in two blocks, easing childcare management with flexible scheduling.
Provide parents with time off for life events, ensuring job security.
Let parents choose to opt in or out of overtime for effective work-hour management.
Offer parents seasonal or project roles for intensive work periods and flexibility.
Parents can rotate roles or departments, gaining skills and experiences while accommodating schedules.
If you believe your company could benefit from a workplace flexibility plan, contact your local Automation Personnel Services office and speak to one of our representatives today.