The Office of the Inspector General of the United States Postal Service (USPS) has just come up with a well-reasoned strategy to introduce greater workforce flexibility in scheduling clerical and mail handling work. The goal is a win-win-win for USPS, its workforce and its customers. A flexible environment is expected to improve morale, aid recruitment and retention, and reduce absenteeism. Listed among the goals of this ‘innovative human resource practice’ move are:
The USPS intends to establish “flexibility” teams that will pilot different tests of best practices. Some of their first pilots will test the benefits of
Like the USPS, employers could gain from reviewing their operations and increasing flexibility, where possible, to save on labor costs and improve employee experience. Other examples of successful flexible schedules have been implemented by the police, firefighters, airline employees and government workers.
Other flexibility Measures in the Workplace:
Employer stand to gain advantages in their employee engagement efforts by allowing workers to customize their work times without compromising upon deliverables and productivity. By structuring work to be delivered remotely, they gain access to talent from a global pool. By allowing flexi-time workers to put in variable hours of service, shift emphasis from ‘time invested’ to ‘deliverables generated’.
Have you considered if any of these strategies can be implemented at your workplace, so you can reap the benefits too? Consider the approach used by USPS. Identify flexible approaches that are potentially applicable to your business, and run pilots. For each, clearly establish and communicate the testing period, indications of success as well as the means of measuring results. At the end of each test, publish the results and communicate whether the flexibility will be implemented on a wider scale. Emphasize that measures can only be taken if they prove to have a positive impact on the business. Not all options can be universally applied.
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