Posts tagged ‘human resources issue’

Taking Flex Time To The Next Level

By Carol Metzner, President, The Metzner Group, LLC and Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com

Most civil engineering firms have committed to practice sustainability in their offices. This typically means using recycled materials and natural light, utilizing low-fume materials and recycling paper and plastics (among other products). Firms even have green practice coordinators. With these commitments in place, the modified work week is becoming a possibility.

How great would it be to have a long weekend every other week? Just think of it: you could schedule all your appointments on a Friday, in advance… take a 3 day vacation twice a month…spend every other Friday doing whatever you want!

With the ever growing popular 9/80 work week, work is scheduled over a nine day work period as opposed to a ten day work period, taking a “flex day” off every second week. Now, do keep in mind, that due to project demands, actual hours may vary from the average nine hour work day. But, this compressed work week allows full-time employees to eliminate at least one work day every other week. Employees work longer hours during the remaining days. These work schedules have to be agreed upon between the employee, their project team and their client.

Civil engineering firm leaders have been hesitant to change the basic 5/40 work week due to concerns that clients won’t be taken care of. “What happens if a Client calls and they need to talk to someone immediately?” With today’s use of Blackberries and cell phones, clients can reach their engineers 24 hours a day. Also, office teams alternate weeks so it is not as if the office is empty with just skeleton teams in place. As mentioned, employers will expect that business needs may demand a temporary change in schedule and that the employees will need to remain flexible to meet those needs. Studies are suggesting that work week flexibility is not only highly valued by staff, but employee productivity rises.

According to the Online TDM Encyclopedia, a compressed work week assists in: congestion reduction by reducing peak-period driving; reduces total commuting trips and parking requirements; reduces travel costs; increases commuter choice…to name a few. Yes, in all fairness, there are possible decreases in commuting time and that may mean increases in other basic driving during the “day off.” But, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs. Employers need to change their way of thinking and become “more flexible” and practice a more “outcome-oriented management” philosophy.

Typically, happy employees are productive employees! And, think how much easier it will be to attract that tough to get talent with this benefit…sign me up!

July 31, 2008 at 12:25 pm 1 comment


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