Negotiating Flex Time With Employees

In tough economic times, many companies would rather cut back on employee hours, rather than layoff workers. Switching to a 32-hour workweek from a 40-hour workweek is a popular way many small businesses are cutting back on wages, without sacrificing health or retirement benefits for their workers. Additionally, many employees seek flex time to work around the changing needs of children, spouses, school and second jobs. As an employer, though, you have to be careful that negotiating flex time doesn’t take away from a productive work environment, or cause feelings of imparity among your office staff.

Negotiate Individually

It is always best to negotiate privately and individually with your employees. No two employees will likely have the exact same needs, so these details are best worked out with a human resource person present and in a closed-door setting.

There are psychological benefits to giving your employees flex time, but you have to ensure that your work caliber is not adversely affected in the process. When recruiting new hires, be honest and open about your policy on flex time. Further, don’t single out flex time benefits for your “favorite” workers. If you can’t afford to give flexible hours to everyone in the same department, then don’t do it at all.

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