8 Benefits of Alternative Work Schedules Employers Should Know
Work schedules for many professionals were in a mode of change before the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, despite progress in alternative work schedules, most business and workers were still wed to the idea of the five-day work week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday, and fixed-permanent workspace. This was completely deconstructed when the pandemic prompted businesses and workers to adopt work from home arrangements in a matter of a few days.
Work from Home and Alternative Work Schedules
While work from home has not been without its challenges and some took longer to acclimate to it than others, most found the transition to remote work from home much easier and faster than they imagined. Once the pandemic subsides, few believe the workplace will return to what it resembled beforehand. According to Pew Research, half of them say they have more flexibility when they put in their hours. For businesses thinking workers will want to return to fixed workspaces and work schedules, they may need to rethink their strategy; more than half of workers who are working from home indicate they want to continue working from home after the pandemic is over.
Gartner predicts a titanic shift in workplace approaches after the pandemic dissipates. In a survey last year, the research firm found that 82% of companies plan to permit employees to work part time. Almost half say they intend to allow employees to work remotely full-time going forward. Alternative work schedules will also become a norm with many: 43% of organizations plan to grant flex days, and another 42% will provide flex hours.
Benefits of Alternative Work Schedules
This shift to alternative work schedules comes with substantial benefits. Following are some of the most notable:
1. Improved Productivity
Despite many organizations fretting about concerns over employee productivity before the pandemic, just 13% express concern today. One study this past summer revealed that those working from home spend 10 minutes less per day being unproductive, work one more day a week per month, and are 47% more productive.
2. Less Commute Time
Hybrid workplace strategies reduces the amount of traffic congestion by affording workers with the ability to work from home certain days and from an office on other days. Alternative work schedules expands the benefits by allowing workers to commute to the office during hours when traffic congestion is reduced. All of this reduces the amount of time workers spend commuting to and from work.
3. More Exercise, Better Health
Alternative work schedules provide workers with the opportunity to exercise regularly and take more breaks. For example, workers who work from home exercise 30 minutes more during the work week than those who come to a permanent workspace five days a week.
4. Better Worker Retention
Growing numbers of workers, especially millennials, choose their jobs based on work-life balance. Over one-third of workers indicate flexible work, which includes alternative work schedules, is more important to them than prestigious titles or positions. Another study conducted a year before the pandemic shows that 30% of workers left their jobs in 2019 because the company did not offer flexible work options; another 16% were hunting for a new job for that reason. With the average cost per hire around $4,000, which does not account for the loss in productivity and revenue, the ability to retain workers can create significant savings.
5. Attract Top Talent
Given that many workers are keen on alternative work schedules, it is easier to recruit top talent for organizations that offer such. Certain demographics rank alternative work schedules with higher importance than others. For example, 80% of women indicate alternative work flexibility is something they seek in their next role (compared to 52% of men). Over 90% of millennials identify alternative work schedules as a top priority when job hunting.
6. Improved Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Improving diversity, inclusion, and equity is a key focus area for many businesses in 2021. Alternative work schedules should be one of the elements businesses include in their diversity, inclusion, and equity programs. Doing so will enable organizations to recruit more diverse candidates.
7. Increased Employee Engagement
Alternative work schedules can increase employee engagement by empowering workers and demonstrating that their employers respect them. Having engaged employees is a big plus, as research shows they are more productive than those who are not engaged—miss fewer days of work, have less turnover, achieve greater career longevity.
8. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Alternative work schedules can help businesses reduce their carbon footprints. Specifically, employees do not need to commute as often, the amount of time spent commuting is reduced, and smaller office workspaces use less electricity and water.
Embracing Alternative Work Schedules
As the pandemic eases and businesses begin to return to normal business operations and interactions, they must plan accordingly—and this includes how they design and execute alternative work schedules. One of the factors they need to consider is the use of hybrid workspace models, which often will utilize a combination of permanent office space, coworking space, and work-from-home scenarios. Flexible, cost-effective coworking solutions—including rented meeting rooms—such as Davinci Meeting Rooms will be critical.