When you’re talking workplace flexibility or “work-flex” in the same breath as manufacturing, there’s bound to be some head shaking. Some grunting and huffing to go with the arms jerked tight across the chest. Work-flex in manufacturing, however, is not a complete impossibility. Sure, some out-of-the-box thinking will have to happen. And no, pieces of manufacturing equipment can’t be toted home so that Tom or Jane can work while caring for a sick child.
News flash: telecommuting is not the only way that workplace flexibility is defined.
Will a work-flex scenario work for every position within your plant? Most likely no. But can specific accommodations that fit within the job flexibility realm apply to many of your positions? Most likely yes. With a little creativity and ingenuity, a variety of employee-pleasing options can be instituted. But those same options shouldn’t be thought of only as “employee pleasing” because they can and will be “employer pleasing,” as well. As the company reaps the benefits of increased productivity and morale through the efforts of their satisfied, engaged employees, work-flex becomes a win-win.
So, from a practical standpoint, what exactly does work-flex mean in manufacturing? Realize first that it will look different in the accounting and marketing departments than it does on the manufacturing floor. In areas where telecommuting is possible—administrative, product development, etc.—by all means explore, analyze, and refine those options. Having the best and brightest in all departments is crucial to your company’s success, and an excellent way to gain greater access to the talent pool across every department is to create an engaging work-flex plan.
Now that workplace flexibility has expanded beyond telecommuting; there are a myriad of ways flexibility can be incorporated into the various positions you offer.
- Flexible shift begin and end times, which sync with an employee’s schedule allow for taking care of family responsibilities such as getting the children to and from school.
- Even something as simple as changing up break times can improve an employee’s workday.
- Compressed work weeks where employees work longer hours over fewer days is desirable for many workers as it requires them to be away from family/home less.
- Determining a way to offer split shifts to give employees the opportunity to separate their shifts into two or more sections.
- Make the swapping of shifts an option that offers employees another way to balance work with their personal lives.
- The creation of part-time positions opens options to a multitude of employees for whom full-time work is not an option at this time in their life.
Simply stated, work-flex means employers gain access to the best and brightest job candidates. By providing them with a situation that allows both your company and the employees to benefit, long-term relationships can develop, contributing to a productive work environment where consistent, excellent results are the norm.
Creating, implementing and maintaining a viable work-flex program isn’t a simple task—there’s no one-size-fits-all solution—but when you take the time to “figure out the flex” that fits your company, everyone benefits.
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