"I was surprised at how many of these options are doable!"
Last week, a client invited me to lead a workshop on implementing flexible work options for their superintendents, and at the end of the event, one of the attendees raised his hand and said that. His words were really exciting to me, and not just because that meant I'd led a darn good workshop... What was really exciting about the statement is that he's right! It IS surprising how many options there are for flexible work, and it may be surprising how easy they are to implement.
Perhaps when you think of flexible work, you think of working from home in your pajamas. And of course there are reasons why that won't work for operations (at least not full time): you can't do job walks remotely, safety may be compromised, and it makes responding to an emergency harder. But that's not the only kind of flexible work.
Flexible work encompasses many variables; specifically, it encompasses HOW people work, WHERE people work, and WHEN people work. Different combinations of these components create flex work plans. Every job site is unique, and what works for one may not work for another, but there are still a multitude of options.
For example, there's flex time. Two of the most popular options we discussed at the workshop were mid day off flex time and core hours flex time. With options like these (allowing employees flexibility with their work hours during the day to run errands or visit the doctor), you can improve the work-life balance of the team while still maintaining coverage. There's also working during commute time, which allows the employee to depart the site a little earlier and take their last call from the truck, and therefore spend more time at home while still getting their work done. And those are just three of the options we went over - there were many more!
Flexible work is meant to be exactly what it sounds like: flexible. When you work that flexibility into your work culture, work-life balance improves, and studies show that productivity improves. Also, people job-hunting today are growing more and more expectant that there be flex work options. It's not a perk; it's an expectation. Proving that you're willing to work with your team to implement flexible work arrangements that works for them makes your employees feel valued and more productive. I encourage you to let your guard down around flexible work and check out some of the ways it could be implemented into your work. You too may be surprised!