Does Your Flextime Program Include These Key Features?

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Does Your Flextime Program Include These Key Features?”

To keep your best employees, you need to offer an attractive value proposition. The job has to be right and the culture, including an array of benefits, has to be as supportive as what they'll find elsewhere. Flextime is one benefit that employees appreciate. But, managing flextime programs can be troublesome, unless businesses use a little caution when establishing them. MIT’s Sloan School, known for its outstanding business management training program instituted a flextime system. Here’s what they learned in the process, according to Eric Sherman.

As a manager, you’ve either heard the horror stories or personally experienced employees taking advantage of poorly administered flextime programs. Large companies with a trendy mindset, like Yahoo, have recently done away with privileges like working from home and flextime. At some of these companies, it became obvious that people were working very little and some even had second jobs.

Apply the Program Equally

Flextime programs can work though. If you’re starting a program from scratch, expect to encounter resistance. That’s exactly what happened at MIT when managers feared that some employees would disengage. Other managers just didn’t like the idea of change. For example, you may be concerned that a specific individual won’t make up the work she misses while flexing. You can’t exclude specific individuals from a flextime program. Instead, these types of employees must be closely monitored by their managers.

Set Time Constraints

A good flextime program might also work within certain time constraints. Your organization might be most successful if everyone commits to be onsite or available during core work hours which might range from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Outside of those hours, employees could flex. This type of policy gives them the ability to deal with childcare issues – waiting for the school to open or rushing to pick kids up before daycare service providers start charging their exorbitant late fees. Employees might also need the ability to attend after-​school sporting events or to drive an elderly relative to a medical appointment early in the day.

MIT administrators determined that a good flextime program should work the same way for everyone in the company. In addition, any time constraints should be clearly communicated. Paying attention to these flextime details will help your employees feel that they have some control over their schedule and keep you in a competitive position in the marketplace.