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Two Perks That Your Employees Want the Most
Posted by: Emma Berdanier on June 18th, 2019
Over the past decade, we have been witnessing a shift away from the traditional 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM workspaces. Technology has helped pave the way for this, but the increasing need to both attract and retain top talent requires companies to consider changing their ways in terms of offering both flexible hours and remote work options.
An Accountemps poll found that 52% of employees thought flexible schedules were the best perk a company could offer, and 27% thought that early leave on Fridays was the best. The desire for work-life balance is strong with employees, especially with Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, of whom in a poll prioritized work-life balance over other aspects of the job (i.e. professional development, mission) at around 44%. While mission still matters and especially drives Millennials, it’s a good work-life balance that sets businesses apart and ensures employee retention and happiness.
The Benefits of Flexible Hours
We all know – some people love to rise early, but others love to sleep in. Companies can benefit from offering early and late shifts to the normal 8-5’er’s, thereby expanding the company’s “in business” hours from the traditional 8 AM – 5 PM, to 7 AM – 6 PM or beyond, by offering staggering shifts. Many companies have “core hours” of 10 AM – 3 PM, where all employees are required to be there, but they can work their 8-hour day on the early or late side of this range.
According to a study by Bentley University, 77% of Millennials reported that flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age. This slight shift could improve talent attraction and employee retention, and could lead to greater team productivity and results in the workplace.
The Benefits (and Concerns) with Remote / Work from Home Days
Being able to offer an employee even one day per week to work from home is a huge perk to someone who has been used to working a Monday-Friday schedule in the office. Every job has “administrative” tasks that can be readily accomplished remotely, and the only one-time investment on the company’s part is the equipment and remote connection to make it happen.
There are also concerns to consider when allowing employees to work remotely, including:
For hourly workers, tracking remote employees’ timesheets is increasingly difficult, as no supervisor is monitoring them to ensure they’re working consistently, or to monitor how long of breaks they take or how frequent of breaks they take. Apps and software are available to help with this, but an assurance that employees will take their breaks according to company policy is still needed.
Employers are also required under state laws to reimburse employees for expenses necessarily incurred in their employment. This includes employees who use a personal cell phone to make work calls, as they must be reimbursed for part of their cell phone bill each month. Employers must provide their employees with all equipment that the employer deems necessary or have a strict policy that outlines which expenses are reimbursable and to what extent to navigate this concern.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all employers are responsible for providing employees with safe work environments, with no exception for employees who work remotely. Employers should be cognizant of this potential risk and have policies in place to ensure, as much as they can, that the environments their remote employees work from are as safe as possible.
The Bottom Line
With all these concerns in mind, it is important to note the research – working remotely has been shown to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. Research done by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom found that remote employees performed 10% more work overall than regular employees and left the company at half the rate of regular employees. It has also been shown that when employees are offered flexible hours they are happier and more productive in the office.
The ability to work remotely and the desire for flexible hours are in higher and higher demand and, as this demand grows, employers should learn to embrace this change in the typical workspace and offer flexible and remote working options whenever possible.