Nearly 80 percent of workers want flexibility, according to a report by Georgetown University Law Center. And as a small-business owner, you’re uniquely positioned to give it to them. Why? Because you don’t have to adhere to the rigid structural restrictions that govern big corporations. That means that even if you don’t have the money to compete on salary with corporate employers, you could still win star employees by offering a flexible schedule.
Of course, flexible workplaces aren’t all good news for small businesses. Handing employees control of their schedules can easily become a managerial nightmare if you don’t know what to expect.
Flexible Work Arrangements: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
While workplace flexibility has many advantages, such as high employee retention and increased job satisfaction, it comes with its own set of problems for small-business owners. For example, you may have to combat…
- Decreased productivity. Flex time or compressed workweeks may mean less work overall is getting done. You’ll need to keep your employees on track with clear goals and deadlines.
- Lapses in communication. If you don’t schedule regular check-ins with your employees, work may be done incorrectly. Errors and Omissions Insurance can protect you when an employee’s mistake causes a client to suffer financial losses and seek compensation from your business.
- A lack of control. Without all your employees in one place, you may not know how they’re representing your business. For example, say your social media manager works remotely from home. She posts something online that’s libelous against a competitor. Now you’re facing a potential lawsuit, and you’ll have to draw on your General Liability Insurance to cover lawyer fees and damages.
- Technology failures. With satellite employees, you’re probably relying on smartphones, computers, and other mobile devices to stay connected. Any information shared online – even over secure networks – is at risk for data breaches. You many consider carrying Cyber Liability Insurance to help protect your small business from potential breaches. (To learn more about how your small business could be at risk, read the post, “‘No Business Too Small’ to Be Hacked, Says Security Expert.”)
Additionally, you need to decide which of your remote workers are contractors and which are employees. A worker is usually an independent contractor if they work independently, are paid on a per-project basis, use their own tools, and don’t receive benefits.
Most state laws require you to have Workers’ Compensation for workers classified as employees. However, the laws vary from state to state and may depend on your industry or number of employees. You can learn about your state’s requirements in our state-by-state Workers’ Comp guide.
Living the Dream: The Rewards of Workplace Flexibility
Though workplace flexibility may have potential problems, it’s an attractive incentive for jobseekers and can help retain current employees. According to research from the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, employers offering workplace flexibility can reap benefits such as…
- Increased cost savings and profits.
- Improved performance and productivity.
- Increased retention and reduced turnover.
- Increased job satisfaction.
All these factors can contribute to higher employee morale and a more productive workforce – a dream come true for your small business, so long as you make strides to reduce potential pitfalls. To shore up your safety measures, submit an online insurance application for free quotes today.