Managing teams with different flexible working arrangements

Open and transparent processes are essential when dealing with multiple requests for flexible working arrangements. You have to consider each individual's request and assess any flow-on affects (opportunities and challenges) for your business from approving several requests.

Opportunities

  • If multiple people want to work part-time, you may be able to create job share positions or free up enough budget to employ more people.
  • If people want to work different schedules, starting and finishing at different times, you will have wider coverage of business hours.
  • Junior employees may get opportunities to learn about the roles of more senior employees if they have to cover them on days off.
  • Team cohesion and collaboration may be enhanced as staff will need to negotiate work allocations.

Challenges

  • Multiple employees may want to have certain days off (e.g. Monday or Friday) as part of their compressed work hours, leaving a gap on that day.
  • All employees may want to start late or early, which would leave a gap in the mornings or afternoons when no-one is available.
  • Some employees who want to work part-time may not be suited to a job share arrangement (as their work is too different), so you may need to reallocate tasks.

Manage multiple arrangements with planning

Managing different types of flexible working arrangements in your business may require some extra planning to ensure adequate coverage across the working week. You can achieve this by using a work schedule and calendar (which will also help you plan for employee holidays and extended leave periods).

Employee coverage

Some ways to cover employees' work when they are not in the office include:

  • buddy systems - another employee is able to respond to urgent queries
  • mutual flexibility - employees agree to be flexible with their arrangements when emergencies and unforeseen deadlines occur.

Crisis arrangement - mutual flexibility

In certain lines of work, unexpected emergencies can occur when a required employee is not in the office or has a day off. To deal with these situations, you should consider if you have budget to pay them to work extra hours. You should also discuss with them whether:

  • there is flexibility in the hours and days of their working arrangements (e.g. swapping a telecommuting day when there is an important meeting, or coming in on a day off)
  • they can be contacted outside normal working hours for emergencies.

Keep in mind that in some cases, particularly where child care or elder care agreements are in place, it may be difficult for the employee to accommodate changes at short notice.

Also consider...