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Developing flexible work schedules in manufacturing

Jul 06, 2022

Digitization of the manufacturing industry has revolutionized the sector for every employee. It has defined roles and responsibilities, processes and systems to accommodate a faster, more efficient supply chain.

Our Voice of the American Workforce survey of 2021 uncovered that employees today — especially women — expect flexible work hours as the norm in manufacturing. This means that departments that would not previously consider flex hours as a perk of the business must learn how to weave it into their budget and resource allocation.

If you're looking to get a leg up in the labor market and at the same time improve your company culture, let's take a look at a few strategies to logically implement flexible work hours into your business.

Letting go of rigid expectations

Depending on how your business operates, you may have one or two shifts in the morning and the evening so everything runs smoothly. Flexible work attempts to break shift work hour expectations where employees can only get work done on-site and within an eight-hour day. Instead, however, you can push these boundaries to find opportunities to work off-site or to choose their own hours.

The basis of flexible hours is to give employees more autonomy to get things done in a way that suits them. To that end, here are a few steps you can take to implement flex hours.

1. Explore the purpose of flexible work

The reason for implementing flex work can vary from business to business, but overall it helps address and support employees' needs. A larger pool of candidates is searching for industry leaders that can offer them their dream job, and accommodate the reality of a life outside of work.

How can part of your workforce complete tasks off-site or remotely?

2. Set up productivity and behavior protocol

While you do want to establish trust in your employees, there should be guidelines for how flexible work functions. This can include productivity apps, ways to check-in and deciphering between appropriate and inappropriate behavior online — to keep your employees and your data safe.

3. Establish working hours

The most successful hybrid work companies allow employees to work from home either in the same or different states on local time. However, it can be helpful (and supportive) to your remote teams to establish "core collaboration hours," or a sweet spot where everyone is online at the same time.

4. Train and support managers

Getting management on board is an obvious first step, but you need total buy-in from every department to make flexible work hours possible. Every member of your business is counting on each other to continue a working flow and if a team member is unaware that someone is working remotely or has opted to take the day off, this could throw operations through a loop. Get buy-in from every member of your business to ensure smooth remote work transitions.

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