With summer underway, employers have more scheduling challenges than usual. Vacations, child care concerns, and wanting to enjoy the nice weather with an afternoon (or day!) off all contribute to employees missing more work than usual.
How you respond to these matters will mostly depend on the nature of your business. However, choosing to make allowances where possible can have an extremely positive impact on your organization. It helps employees feel valued as individuals. Plus, working with your team to create a schedule that will allow the necessary work to get done, while also acknowledging that they have obligations and interests outside of work, makes for a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce overall.
Work-life balance is hugely important to most employees, and hugely important to an employer’s rate of turnover. In fact, work-life balance has frequently been outpolling money as the most important factor for employees. And these are the kinds of benefits most employees have in mind.
Many jobs don’t allow for flexible work schedules, but if you can let your employees modify their schedules ahead of time – or even last minute (when necessary for them and possible for you) – you’ll generally receive some benefit in return. This could come as increased loyalty or even a greater willingness to go the extra mile to help when needed. With proper planning and execution, employees will still be able to get their work done. And with time set aside in advance for outside activities and responsibilities, your employees will be able to focus better on the tasks at hand when they do sit down to work.
If the proper tools are available, telecommuting may enable an employee to get the day’s work done while out of the office. This may be especially helpful when an employee has a child who needs the presence of an adult, but not their full attention. It could also be an option if they’re riding along as a passenger on a long road trip. If employees are able to get their work done remotely, they won’t have to take paid time off–and you won’t have to suffer from lost productivity!
Sometimes creative scheduling and telecommuting just won’t work for the employee or the employer. In that case, you might look at temporarily reduced hours or even a leave of absence. This is obviously more burdensome to employers than the other options. However, if it’s what is necessary to keep an invaluable employee around long-term, it may be worth considering.
Employers may also want to consider temporary changes to certain workplace policies or practices for the summer months. For example, some employers have less business in the summer and choose to close the office early on Fridays during those months. Others will offer an extra day off around certain holidays, such as July 4th or Labor Day. By proactively giving employees a little extra time off, you can choose days and times that are more convenient for the company. (And hopefully minimize employee requests for other days off as a result!)
Other perks, such as relaxing the dress code to allow shorts or hosting a company picnic don’t necessarily impact scheduling directly but can make employees feel valued. And employees who feel valued will be less tempted to fake an illness for an afternoon in the sun.
Though the summer months may be prime time for vacations, there will always be employees who want or need the extra hours. If you don’t already have an efficient shift swapping process in place, now is the perfect time to create one. Although this can be done manually, you can also utilize technology to streamline the process.
For example, Southland Data Processing’s timekeeping system allows employees to place requests on an online message board. From there, the manager can quickly view, monitor, and approve shift request changes online. Once approved, the affected employees receive an automatic notification of the change. Still on the fence about timekeeping? Learn more at our free upcoming webinar here!
What Do You Think?
Work-life balance is hugely important to most employees. It’s also hugely important to an employer’s rate of turnover. While you can’t take away all the stressors in employees’ personal lives, being understanding of their scheduling expectations will help set you both up for success.
We’d love to hear about your experience tackling summer scheduling challenges. Comment below to share your tips for keeping your business staffed during summer vacation season. Want more ways to keep your running smoothly? Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make sure you never miss a beat!