8 workforce management tools to support flexible work hours

A flexible work hours policy can improve employee experience, especially for working mothers. Learn about some tools that can potentially help employers manage this.

A flexible work hours policy can benefit many employees, including working mothers and caregivers, and can help companies potentially attract a new segment of candidates at a time when hiring and employee retention are suffering. The right tools could help employers manage their workers' flexible work hours.

Employers should keep in mind that flexible work hours policies can potentially negatively impact employees as well. Some workers may feel reluctant to change their schedule from the standard 9-to-5 because they think employers will favor employees working traditional hours. In addition, employees may end up working longer hours if they follow a flexible work policy.

In many cases, however, a flexible work hours policy can help employees improve their work-life balance. Here are some of the tools company leaders should consider implementing to help manage a flexible work hours program.

1. HR system

Employees following a flexible schedule will need to be able to access HR information remotely at any time. An HR system provides employees with their personal and work data, and employees can use it to update their information, sign new policies and documents, and view public information like an org chart.

Some HR systems also allow users to post links to policies and forms from groups like HR, Finance and IT.

2. Scheduling software

In some cases, employees following a flexible schedule must still work particular core hours or submit their schedule on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition, a manager may need to ensure adequate coverage each day. Scheduling software helps alert employees about when they are required to work and facilitates scheduling discussions between employees and their managers.

However, scheduling software may not add value if employees can work any time they choose and are already recording actual hours worked on a timesheet.

3. Time-tracking software

Time-tracking software is a must for a flexible work hours program to ensure payroll is accurate. By integrating an approval process, managers can ensure that only hours worked are approved and paid.

4. Collaboration tools

If workers use collaboration tools to communicate, an employee working flexible hours may find it easier to catch up on a conversation later. Company leaders can encourage employees to communicate via widely accessible collaboration tool channels so an employee logging on at 2 p.m. knows a particular issue was resolved by co-workers at 10 a.m. 

5. Video conference applications

Video conferencing applications allow meeting recording so absent employees can watch it later. This recording option could benefit employees working flexible hours, since schedules may not always align for gatherings like a company-wide meeting.

6. Calendar software

Calendar software is common today, but it becomes potentially even more valuable when employees are working flexible hours because scheduling meetings may become more challenging. Company leaders should consider integrating scheduling software with company calendar software or requiring employees to enter their availability in the calendar software.

7. Training applications

A learning management system that allows employees to take courses when it fits their schedule can benefit employees who aren't working during the company's core hours. To support these employees, HR staff should emphasize e-learning courses rather instructor-led training (ILT), since employees may not be able to attend live training.

If ILT training is a must, HR staff should record the training so employees who work flexible hours can watch it later.

8. Building access control application

Employees working flexible hours may need to access on-premises sites outside of regular office hours, so company leaders should consider investing in an application that controls office space access and tracks who enters and leaves the premises. The company can also use the application for contact tracing if needed.

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