Tips for Flexible Small Business Scheduling During the Holidays
While retail businesses are entering a time when they need all hands on deck, not every small business requires the physical presence of their staff during the holidays, and in fact may benefit in terms of improving employee loyalty and morale from implementing a more flexible work schedule that can allow their employees to spend more time with their families and loved ones. The balance between personal direction and freedom and productivity is one that small business owners need to think about directly, as more freedom can lead to retaining better talent, but too much lenience can create the issue of insufficient communications and missed deadlines.
Create a structured process for taking time to work remotely. Provided that your employees aren’t going on vacation, but are committing to working from home during part of the holiday season, you should think in advance in order to define the priority of assignments that you give them and make steps towards allowing them to be both flexible and accountable. Drop boxes, Google Docs, tools like Skype and GotoMeeting can all play their part in providing some structure to out of the office work, and depending on the role being filled by your employee, you can have them work with a high degree of efficiency remotely through the use of appropriate communication technologies.
Define what days your employees are going to be working reduced or flex hours in order to coordinate communication. If you have employees that are working on a joint assignment, make sure that they are clear on the times and methods of communication that they will be using to keep things on the right track. If employees will be in a communication dead-zone, for example if their carriers don’t allow their phones to get reception and they are away from internet, they should specify those times in advance and schedule an update where they can deliver what they have been working on to teammates and get briefed themselves on new developments. It may be the case that instead of trying to set up the ability for team members to work from home you should simply encourage employees to take a few days off, allowing them to recharge and approach the post holiday period before the New Year with a renewed sense of vigor.
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