We recently looked at warehouse cleanliness and employee recognition as two tactics for retaining warehouse workers. Today we’ll discuss a third strategy for reducing warehouse turnover: work flexibility.
While the pandemic has made telecommuting and flexible schedules a necessity for most businesses, the positive results have caused many companies to embrace them as permanent solutions. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In a 2018 Mercer study of the manufacturing sector, 51% of employees said that they wanted their company to offer more flexible work options. If millennials (ages 22–38) make up most of your general warehouse labor, it’s important to know that 92% of them identify flexibility as a top job priority.
What flexible work options should you be considering for your warehouse?
First, let’s define seven flexible works options that are gaining traction in light industrial. Then we’ll discuss how these models can benefit you and your employees.
Flextime—This solution allows warehouse workers a flexible start and end time during a range of “core” business hours. Here, workers can adjust their start and end times but must be available during the business’s most critical hours.
Compressed Work Week—Employees who choose a compressed workweek work more hours per day to receive an additional day off. For example, instead of working five eight-hour days, employees may work four ten-hour days and have Fridays off.
Shift Work—A common work model in 24-hour warehouse operations, shift work allows employees to work outside of traditional 9-to-5 hours by choosing morning, evening, or overnight shifts.
Split Shifts—In this flexible solution, warehouse workers split their time across two shifts. For instance, they may work the beginning of the 1st shift and come back later and work part of the 2nd shift.
Part-time—This arrangement accommodates workers who are not available to work full-time hours or employers who have positions that don’t require 40 hours per week.
Job Sharing—What happens when you take a full-time position and split the work up between two or more part-time workers? The answer is job sharing. Here, multiple workers share full-time duties by working on alternating days. The part-timers can take turns covering all duties or split up tasks according to their individual strengths.
Telecommuting—Workers work from home.
The Benefits of Making Warehouse Schedules Supple
Before we look at how to implement these flexible work strategies, let’s examine the potential benefits to you and your warehouse operations.
Access to better warehouse talent
Exceptional warehouse talent is out there. Are rigid schedules preventing you from recruiting them? By adding flexibility to shifts and start times, you immediately widen your recruiting net and capture the attention of more candidates. For instance, a worker may accept a longer commute if his/her day can start a little later. Offering workers flexibility means you’ll have more talent to choose from and open positions will become easier to fill.
Happier retained workers
Options such as flextime, split-shifts, part-time and compressed workweeks give back employees the most precious commodity of all: time. Time to take their kids to school or help them with digital learning, time to further their own education, time to go to doctor appointments, or run important errands. Time equals freedom and, for many workers, especially millennials, they’ll repay you for this freedom with loyalty.
Reduced Absences and Improved Productivity
By building flexibility into your work solutions, employees won’t have to call-out to accommodate personal needs or break away from a schedule that’s causing them stress. Instead, they show up on time, focused, and ready to work.
How Do You Implement Flexible Work Options?
Find the fit
The first step is to decide what flexible work models fit your warehouse. Some models may work better than others or be job role dependent. For instance, telecommuting may be plausible for certain accounting and IT staff, but impossible to implement for quality control associates and machine operators. Try to customize a solution that makes work flexibility available to everyone but also makes sense for specific job roles.
Team up with a flexible workforce partner
Adopting flexible work models comes with many advantages but is challenging to implement alone. A warehouse staffing company, like Faire Labor, specializes in managing contingent, flexible workforces and can bring their benefits to your operation as a turnkey labor solution. This not only includes a happier, more productive warehouse team but also eliminates the costs of recruiting, hiring, training, payroll processing, workers’ comp, and unemployment.
Track and analyze the results
Flexible work options need to benefit you and your workers. Make sure you are analyzing the results and seeing improvements in:
- Worker Morale
Sometimes minor adjustments are all it takes to make a flexible work program successful.
The way we work will continue to evolve. Warehouse workers, like all workers, want work-life balance and happiness. Flexible work options not only help achieve this, but they can also help you reduce turnover, cut labor costs, increase productivity and ultimately create a better warehouse environment for you and your team.