Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the modern workplace has undergone some massive changes. And while adjusting to these has involved some growing pains, especially for employers, this new world of work is not necessarily a bad thing. If you're a small business owner, you may have some concerns and hesitation about adopting a flexible workplace model. Here are some steps you can take to explore what it means to have a hybrid workplace and find solutions that work for you and your business.
Consider Business Needs:
Before changing up your workplace norms, you must first decide what type of work and workers are essential to your business. The key to this inventory is thoroughness and honesty. It's important to be critical and examine potentially outdated ideas about when, where and how work gets done at your company. At the same time, you must account for your own priorities and preferences as a business owner: maybe you simply wouldn't enjoy a setup where you don't get much face to face time with your staff and/or customers. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What do you enjoy most about running your business?
- Do you require in-person employees? For which tasks?
- Does it matter that your employees work an eight hour shift, or is it more important that they reach certain productivity goals?
- When is it desirable or necessary to have your workforce meet face to face?
- Are there certain roles or aspects of the work that can be conducted online or completed from a different location?
Next, make a list of some ways (large or small) that you might be able to give your workers some more flexibility. These might include:
- Offering an option for some employees to work remotely on certain days or at specific times of day.
- Allowing workers to set their own hours as long as their work is getting done.
- Instituting a four-day week, where it makes sense and for those who want it.
- Shifting your compensation model to be goal rather than time-oriented.
- Conducting meetings or other aspects of your business online.
And don't forget to ask your employees what would make a difference for them, too!
Test the Waters:
Now that you have some ideas, it's time to give them a test drive. Be upfront with your staff that your goal is to provide more flexibility, but in a way that doesn't diminish your business and that preserves the things that made you want to own a business in the first place. Take some of those ideas for a spin, reflect on the results, make improvements or move on, and repeat. It may take some trial and error, but with a positive attitude and a little bit of effort, you are certain to uncover a flexible workplace model that works for you, your employees, and your bottom line.
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