Flexible Work Scheduling: Can It Work for Industrial Jobs?

Today, competition in the workforce is fierce – not just between potential hires to get the best jobs, but also between businesses to score the best workers. Lots of companies are offering benefits such as flexible scheduling to help attract top talent and keep current employees happy. But can flexible work scheduling work for industrial jobs?

While telecommuting may not be possible for jobs that require employees to be on-site, there are a variety of other options that can help bring flexibility to industrial jobs.

Compressed Work Schedules

A compressed work schedule means that employees can work a 35- to 40-hour workweek in fewer than five workdays. Rather than working five 8-hour days, for example, an employee working on a compressed schedule might work four 10-hour days, then take three days off in a row. Another option might be to work three 12-hour days and take four consecutive days off. This allows employees to extend the block of time in which they can pursue their interests, relax, or travel.

Flexible Daily Hours

Another way to offer employees some wiggle room in their schedule is to allow them flexibility in their daily hours. This may mean coming in or leaving a few hours earlier or later than the typical 8 am to 5 pm schedule. If an employee has work that can be completed at any hour of the day, offering the choice to work second or third shift might be attractive to some team members.

Benefits of Flexible Work Scheduling

The benefits of flexible work hours are many and apply to the employee and the employer. They include:

Less commuting time. More flexibility in the work schedule may mean less time stressing behind the wheel or riding public transportation. With a compressed work schedule, there are fewer trips to and from the workplace. A reduced commute may apply to those working flexible daily hours, too, such as if they opt out of the typical 8 to 5 shift when large numbers of people are traveling to and from work. Plus, flexible work hours can mean less money spent on fuel due to reduced time on the road, stuck in traffic.

Reduced childcare costs. Another benefit of allowing employees flexibility in their work hours is that it may help avoid expensive childcare costs. If Mom and Dad can arrange their schedules so that one leaves for work late enough to send their kids off to school and the other finishes early enough to pick up their kids — or be at home when the bus arrives — this could mean avoiding a hefty daycare bill.

Employee empowerment. Here’s where the pros of flexible work scheduling begin to benefit employers, as well as their employees. A 2018 Harvard Business Review study found that employees whose leaders empower them are more creative and helpful as well as more trusting in their employers. It adds to a feeling of entrepreneurism, making employees more likely to step up and work to solve problems. It also adds to their overall level of on-the-job confidence.

Better productivity. Finally, many people have different circadian rhythms and energy cycles. Arriving at work at 8 am and putting in eight hours may work best for some employees, while others enjoy the unbroken workflow of arriving a few hours earlier and working 12 hours straight. A willingness to be flexible will help boost productivity – something that’s especially important in a time when many businesses are trying to manage staffing shortages.

Many people think of flexible work scheduling only in terms of working remotely, but it’s possible to allow employees to customize the time they work in an industrial job, too.

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