Workplace flexibility is a fast-growing trend. An increasing number of companies worldwide now encourage their employees to work remotely. Some set up flexible coworking areas at their facilities as an alternative to traditional office environments. Other modern businesses also let their team members choose when to start and end their workdays. As employees gain more opportunities to plan schedules at their convenience, flexible time-off policies are becoming increasing popular.
In this article, we will explain the concept of flexible time off. We will discuss its main benefits and the best methods used to manage flexible time off successfully.
What Is Flexible Time Off?
In accordance with traditional time-off policies, employees can enjoy a limited number of leave days per year on some standard occasions: national holidays, sickness, annual vacation, etc. In contrast, flexible time-off policies imply that one can select when to take a break and doesn’t necessarily have to have a particular reason for it. More precisely, flexible time-off policies integrate sick leave and vacation time balances into a single bundle, providing workers with more freedom of choice in terms of how to use their rest days at hand.
However, flexible time off doesn’t always mean unlimited time off. Many companies still limit the number of leave days one can take per month or year. Yet, some firms trust their team members to take as many days off as they wish without ever running out of available leave time. Not surprisingly, such a combination of flexible and unlimited time off may produce superior advantages for employers and their teams.
Key Benefits of Flexible Time-Off Policies
- Respect for diversity – Our communities are turning more multiculturally diverse. Hence, it’s essential to consider and meet the varying needs of individuals with flexible workplace and time-off rules. People have many more reasons for taking a break from work than a public holiday or a sickness, and flexible time-off policies honor this diversity.
- Ability to meet the changing employee values – Flexibility and mobility are among Millennials’ primary values. It’s pivotal for employers to accommodate them successfully since Millennials will constitute 75% of the global workforce in just five years. By empowering younger workers with more freedom of choice, businesses can make their staff more satisfied with the workplace.
- Higher level of employee commitment – When employees are happy with their workplace environment, they tend to be more committed and loyal, which reduces the risk of staff turnover. Besides, potential job candidates are normally more attracted to companies that are successful in meeting their workers’ interests. Thus, flexible time-off policies can help employers build a strong workforce and decrease recruitment costs at the same time.
Ways to Manage Flexible Time Off
Though flexibility can produce multiple advantages, its implementation entails numerous challenges that require proper handling. The best way to make sure that flexible time off serves to the benefit of all stakeholders is by enacting an effective policy.
Basically, a flexible time-off policy should include the same components as any other time-off policy would:
- Time off availability per month or year
- PTO accrual rules
- Leave request procedures, etc.
Besides, such a policy should indicate how the company will manage public holidays, personal days off and other types of employee leave time: Will your business be closed on some holidays? Will you offer extended paid time-off periods on certain occasions (e.g., grieving)? Will you track sick leave and vacation time separately? And so on.
Since it may be difficult to monitor and predict employee availability under a flexible time-off policy, especially in large teams, it is important to apply a good absence management and scheduling system. Luckily, many quality software tools are readily available on the market. They allow for more streamlined leave management and significantly facilitate the analysis of current and future workforce capacities. Some apps also include features for team communication and help users notify colleagues about any changes in personal schedules promptly. In combination with a well-designed policy, an absence management tool safeguards a business from the risks of mismanagement and guarantees that time off flexibility brings nothing but joy to everyone on the team.
Elina Kukalo is a Content Marketing Specialist for actiPLANS – a smart software tool for streamlined time off management. She shares quality evidence and practical tips on project management, team performance and other important workplace-related matters in actiPLANS blog.