How To Get the Benefits of a Flexible Schedule in Your Small Business

small business flexible hours scheules

As a small business owner sometimes it’s easy to feel that big companies enjoy some advantages that will never be available to you.

You’ll probably never bring in Emeril Legasse to do a cooking demonstration in your company cantina, right?

But what would you think if I told you that you can give employees the perk that ranks highest on their list of desired job benefits? In fact, many of you can probably do this more easily than some large companies.

The single most desirable job benefit is flexible work hours. Several surveys put this benefit at or near the top of the list when fulltime employees are asked what they want at work. If you aren’t yet on the bandwagon you need to consider flexible work schedules in your small business.

Clearing the hurdles

The questions owners typically ask are, “What is flexible scheduling?” and “How can my small business offer flexible working hours?”

Of course, there’s no single answer that covers every situation, but with some creativity you can probably find a way to begin offering flexible hours to your small business team. Let me give you two starting points.

My first point starts with another popular benefit employees are looking for: working fewer hours. I saw one figure recently that said most fulltime employees work, on average, 47 hours a week.

Do you have employees who would like to reduce their hours? If you do, that could make it easier to offer more flexible work schedules in your small business. Frankly, when people are putting in 47 hours, there’s often little room for flexibility!

If there are members of your team who would appreciate rolling back their hours a bit, that gives you the opportunity to bring this group together and work out the parameters of a more flexible work schedule in your small business.

In some cases, two employees could coordinate, with one person working from home, while the other handles the office. They could switch home and office duties in a way that works for both of them.

Your critical supervision

In the scenarios I suggested above, one thing is important: You, as the owner of your small business, are involved in making the decisions and communicating your expectations. This is the second important point when you decide to experiment with flexible scheduling in your small business.

You can’t afford to leave this to chance. That would be unfair to you and to your employees. (I should mention that often productivity increases with flexible scheduling, but if you don’t provide the proper guidance, you could experience exactly the opposite.)

Communication is key when allowing employees to work with less direct supervision, which is the case when you move your small business to flexible hours. If your version of flex scheduling makes use of home or “off-campus” telecommuting, consider going with a specialized chat service like Slack. At a minimum, be sure your employees who are involved in flex hours understand what they need to do to meet your communication expectations.

If this is new to you, you can expect a learning curve where you’ll have to iron out bugs and grow more comfortable with the arrangements. However, as a small business owner you should also take heart in the fact that by offering flex hours or scheduling, you’re creating invaluable good will with your employees and in the long run, that will reduce turn over – you’ll save a lot of money on hiring and training.