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Let workers personalize their flex schedules: 3 case studies

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Posted on HRS home page as free article from July 31 to Aug. 6.

When 10 companies asked small groups of employees to figure out how to flex their hours while improving their teams’ productivity, they jumped at the chance.

Here are three creative solutions from the nonprofit Business Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD) Initiative that you might be able to adapt for your organization:

1. At Weyerhaeuser Co.’s Employee Service Center, 17 of its 62 employees worked on two teams to figure out how they could add flexibility to their schedules without impeding their work. As a result, they made their day more efficient by allowing phone reps a few quiet hours for paperwork and by creating standard responses to common caller problems.

By the end of a 90-day pilot period, hang-ups declined by a full percent; 7% more calls were answered within 20 seconds; and accuracy rose by more than 1%.

And the employees, once limited to standard shifts, were working part-time and compressed schedules.

2. A Gannett mailroom group figured out how to save time printing labels and delivering newsletters through automation, which led to the workers’ taking 72% less unscheduled leave and saving the company from paying temporary replacements.

In addition, the firm’s maintenance engineers slashed backlogged work orders by 81% during the program, because workers—not managers—are solving their scheduling problems.

3. Employees of The Chubb Corp.’s Eastern Claims Service Center were able to devise a flexible schedule that would still cover the service center 12 hours a day by starting their day earlier or ending it later so they could do paperwork during non-peak hours.

Some employees chose to telework two days a month or exchange nine-hour days for every other Wednesday off. And each one cross-trained a co-worker so jobs are covered during absences.

The result: Unscheduled absences were whittled to half and overtime dropped 40%.

Bottom line: Invite employees to contribute their own innovative ideas for saving money and time so they will have a sense of commitment and personal responsibility for making it happen.

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