pexels-photo-830891With so much focus on the need for businesses and other organisations to make it easier for their workers to achieve a better, work/life balance, a growing number of them are now adopting more flexible scheduling practices. What about your nonprofit? Are you already offering flexible work arrangements to some or all your staff? If not, what’s holding you back?

A Win-Win Situation

If you are still on the fence about flex time, you should know that studies have shown that workers with flexible schedules feel less stressed and are happier. They also use less sick days each year, and, are more productive overall than their counterparts with traditional schedules.

Potential Hurdles to Overcome

With so many benefits for teams and their leaders, it’s somewhat surprising that flex time is still considered so risky by some. One reason why this is the case is that some managers worry about how to properly monitor performance.

One of the main concerns is that if workers do not perform their duties on site, that it could lead to staff members becoming lax about meeting deadlines.

Implementing Flex Scheduling in Your Nonprofit

While these are legitimate concerns, there are some steps that your organisation can take to minimise the risks and create more opportunities for flexible scheduling. The following six tips can help your NFP get started creating its own flex time policy.

Consider Your Organisation’s True Needs

On the surface, the answer to implementing flex scheduling would seem to be to allow everyone to work remotely and telecommute all the time. In practice, most organisations need at least some of their team on site, at least part of the time.

When implementing flex schedules, your nonprofit needs to discover its true staffing needs. Once you know your needs, you can create policies that make it easier for your staff to meet their other commitments while making sure that your nonprofit’s actual needs are still being met.

Divide Time Between Core Hours and Independent Work

When creating flexible schedules, one of the most critical questions to ask is if you really need everyone working on site, at the exact same time? Make a list of those tasks that can be done remotely, and which must be performed on-site.

Next, divide the workload so that everyone has tasks that can be carried out remotely, along with some that must be completed on-site. Allow your staff to perform core work on-site during designated “core hours” and to then do the remaining work remotely.

Having everyone report to work on-site for just one or two core-days a week gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy working in a more relaxed atmosphere for the rest of their time. This allows them the space to meet some of their personal needs. Reporting in person just once or twice a week makes collaboration easier and is essential for organisations that value “face-time”.

If you will have some workers that need to come in less frequently, give them “face-time” with the rest of your team by using apps like Skype, and a good instant messaging platform, to keep them in the loop on important conversations, brainstorming sessions and other meetings.

Rolling Start Times

Being more flexible isn’t just about providing opportunities to work offsite. Whether your team is working on-site or remotely, consider offering a rolling start time for the beginning of each shift.

Instead of saying that your staff must be ready and available to work at a set time, give them a window of 30 minutes to an hour or so. This gives each person the option of starting work a little early or a little late without penalties on any given day.

Offer Flex Time to Everyone

Rather than creating individual flexible shifts and other workarounds on a case-by-case basis, roll out flex schedules to everyone. It’s fairer and allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of the program.

Set Weekly Goals

Maintaining oversight is an important consideration in flexible scheduling. One way to ensure that your staff is maintaining its productivity and reaching its goals is to set weekly milestones that you expect them to reach. Be firm about your expectations, and the deadlines you set and hold your staff accountable.

Use time management apps to allow your staff to keep everyone else on the team up-to-date on their individual progress. This way, members that have finished their work early can share tasks with other team members and help to keep projects on track and on time.

Help Your Team Set Proper Expectations

While technology can make it easier for your remote and on-site staff to communicate with one another, it is a double-edged sword in that it also makes it easier for the lines between personal and professional activities to become blurred. Encourage both your remote workers and on-site staff to respect the start and end times for their shifts. A flexible schedule doesn’t mean that you should be expected to be constantly available.

Encourage your team that no matter where they happen to be working on a given day, that the end of their workday should be just that. This means encouraging your staff to not read and answer work-related emails and calls outside of their shifts so that their time away from work is purely time away! This way everyone can be assured of having the time that they need to relax and recharge, and be able to perform their best work during their shifts.