All business owners need to retain their top-performing employees to thrive. In addition to salary, the work environment is also a major factor when employees are deciding whether to stay with your firm.

In an effort to create a positive work environment that makes employees want to stay, firms need the ability to be creative with policies that address work-life balance, including flexible work schedules and hybrid arrangements. Consider some ways you can offer employees these benefits they will deeply appreciate.

Benefits of alternative work options

One perk employees tend to strongly prefer is the ability to make alternative work arrangements — any scheduling pattern that deviates from the traditional Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 workweek.

Flexibility is the basic idea behind alternative work arrangements. You give employees some measure of control over their work schedules — and workspaces — thereby making it easier for them to manage non-job-related responsibilities and maintain work-life balance. There's also a business rationale behind the concept. When it's easier for employees to deal with pressures on the home front, they are likely to be more productive when they're on the job — and less inclined to jump ship if one of your competitors offers them a little more money.

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Types of work-life balance arrangements

Flexible work arrangements can take a number of different forms:

  • Remote work — Since the COVID-19 pandemic brought working from home to the forefront, companies have found that remote work arrangements may endure for years. They’ve developed hybrid workforces, new ways of managing teams and an ability to stay agile in an ever-changing job market. See these tips for managing remote teams.
  • Flextime — Flextime refers to any arrangement that gives employees options for structuring their workday or workweek. In the most extreme (and rarest) form, employees decide for themselves not only when they work but also for how long. More typically, though, employees operating under flexible work arrangements are expected to be on the job during certain core hours of the workday. They're given the opportunity to choose (within certain parameters) their own start and stop times — as long as they work the required number of hours each day.
  • Compressed workweek — Under this arrangement, employees work the normal number of hours but complete those hours in fewer than five days. The most common variation of the compressed workweek is the so-called 4/10, in which employees work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. More than 9 in 10 managers (93%) support a four-day workweek for their team - 64% anticipate their company will transition to one within the next 5 years. Additionally, 8 in 10 workers said they would be willing to put in four 10-hour workdays in exchange for an additional day off each week. Employees often appreciate this arrangement as it provides an extra day at home, thus improving work-life balance.
  • Job-sharing — As the term implies, job-sharing means that two permanent employees share the same job. Salary and benefits may be prorated on the basis of what proportion of the job each worker shares. Apart from the obvious consideration (both people need to be qualified for the job), a successful job-sharing arrangement assumes that the employees sharing the job can work together harmoniously to make the arrangement work.
  • Less than 40 hours — For employees who want to work limited hours, the workweek will usually vary from 20 to 29 hours, with employees sometimes given the right to decide what days they will work and how long they'll work on those days. The key attraction of this arrangement is that the employees may be entitled to company benefits, albeit on a prorated basis.

Employees can become very invested in alternative work arrangements that they may not be able to work out with another employer. Take advantage of this work-life balance approach to build employee loyalty and job satisfaction and to promote a happier work environment.