Flexibility is one of the most valued benefits an employer can offer their staff. From the occasional Friday off to the ability to work from home one or two days a week, this can improve employee morale as well as their ability to establish a healthy work-life balance. However, in the IT field, there’s often a constant demand to have all hands on deck, particularly in the case of system crashes or other urgent IT needs. How can IT managers strike a balance between flexibility and the need for consistent IT support?
Choosing the Right Option
Not all flex plans will work for an IT department, given the high-caliber nature of the work they do. So instead of offering traditional flexibility, it may be wise to design your own unique plan for your workforce. There are a variety of options available to managers looking to increase their offered work options, including:
- Remote work: With the use of a secure VPN, you can allow your IT staff to complete the same amount of work from the comfort of their own home. This will give them the flexibility they need, without having an under-staffed IT department on certain days of the week. The best policies may allow staff to work from home one or two days a week (or more, depending on the nature of your company).
- Flex time: Not everyone works best on the traditional nine-to-five. It may be easier for some workers to come in at 7am, while others prefer 11am. By staggering shifts, you can ensure that you’re covered at all hours of the day while still managing to work around your employees’ busy lives.
- Longer days: In that same vein, some staff members may prefer to work longer days Monday through Thursday in order to have Fridays off. In order to prevent understaffing on Fridays, try to create a schedule that alternates off days among your IT staff.
Decide What Works for You
Depending on the size of your staff and the unique needs of your business, you’ll have to carefully consider each option to decide what works best for you. If you don’t have an infrastructure in place for remote work, flex time may be a more viable option for your company. You can also consult your staff to see which flexible plan is most attractive to them. A workforce made up of working parents may have different opinions than those of new college grads.
By taking a comprehensive look at the needs of your company and your employees, you can encourage flexibility in the workplace without negatively impacting coverage or effectiveness. In fact, these plans can actually boost the performance of your staff overtime and prevent burnouts and work-life conflicts.