How accommodating should you be to your employees? It’s a question a lot of executives ask themselves. Typically, business owners and managers want to create an environment that allows employees to be as productive as possible. The more productive they are, the more work gets done, and the more success the company can have. However, determining the right level of accommodation can be difficult; there certainly isn’t one “right way” to position employees to achieve.

One idea that is gaining popularity is alternative work arrangements. In other words, letting employees decide when and where they will work, at least within reason. This could mean allowing employees to time shift their schedules, so that they might not be working 9 to 5, but rather 8 to 4, or even 12 to 8. It can also mean allowing employees to work from home for part of their workweek, or even to live in another city.

As the boss, it can seem like you’re being too lenient when you allow employees to call their own shots. After all, how can you be sure that they’re doing their job if they’re not on the premises when their direct manager is? On the other hand, there are some definite advantages to providing workers with this level of flexibility.

Better access to talent. If your employees can do their work from anywhere and you are open to alternative work arrangements, the talent pool you select from will be exponentially larger. Rather than having your choice of qualified applicants in a 50-mile radius, you can look at applicants from across the country or around the world. And if you’re flexible on the specific hours someone has to work, you also can consider, for instance, someone who may have childcare issues in the morning that will have to start their workday later.

Better employee retention. If you make it easy for employees to get their work done and live their busy lives, they’re more likely to stay with you. We’re all busy these days. When an employer acknowledges that reality and tries to make things simpler for employees, they realize that the company has their best interests at heart.

Increased productivity. One of the fears managers have about allowing alternative work arrangements is that employees won’t work as hard – that they’ll take advantage of the situation, take long lunches, and disappear for big chunks of the day. However, the evidence suggests the opposite is true – that employees working remotely are less likely to be disrupted by coworkers, and therefore are more productive.

Enhanced trust. When you trust your employees to have alternative work arrangements, they return the favor and will have greater trust in you. However, it’s possible that some will prove to be unworthy of your trust. They’ll try to take advantage of you, even though you made the move to trust them first. Either way, you’ll have a better understanding of who you can trust, and can then act accordingly.

Cost savings. With alternative work arrangements, you have fewer people in the office at one time, which can sometimes mean you don’t need to have as large an office. This allows you to potentially save on your real estate costs.

Every business is different. Every workforce is different. Clearly, some jobs need to be done in a specific location. As an executive, you need to judge what will work for your company and your employees.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 or Email if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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