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Hours - (IT Scheduling)

By istreamkc ·
I have a staff of three (plus myself) in a small software company. I have always set the hours for the technicians, balancing their preferences with our needs. I have a new tech that is requesting different hours on Tues and Thurs than the other work days. I have suggested that it would be best to have the same hours every day, but I also want to be as flexible as possible. Critical support hours are being covered, but I don't want to start a scenario where the other techs ask for equally changing hours to the point that i don't know who is supposed to be in at any given time.

Be flexible or crack the whip?

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Flex time works

by doug.hynne In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

We are a company of 4000 people and we moved to flextime several years ago. The person identifies what their hours will be and follows that schedule. They set their hours between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. The manager has to approve it based on business needs. Most of us just ensure there are core hours where we get the whole group together when required. It is working well and people take less sick leave to handle family scheduling issues.

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Flex OK, Go for Consistency

by weblink In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

As others have noted, flexibility is important for employees, and gives them incentive. However, it's not unreasonable to ask that they be consistent. You can be flexible, but you will probably find that a set schedule will be best for you and the company, rather than scheduling differently day-to-day and week-to-week. Once they choose a set schedule, write it down so you know at what times they should be available.

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its the benefits, not the salary

by tbblakey In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

In my experience of managing and being managed, I have found that it is little things, like allowing a flexible work schedule, a long lunch every so often, comp days for overtime or weekend work (for those on salary), and other what would seem insignificant or small allowances that keep people happy. Like anything, if it is abused, it can be taken away.

Just like you, everybody has a life outside work, and the more you allow people to enjoy that life, the more productive and happy they will be while they are at work.

Keeping track of the schedule can be as easy a simple whiteboard matrix, or the use of a public calendar in outlook.

Keep em happy with the little things and they will continue to make you money......

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No Problem

by fredbrillo In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

If you have a small should be no problem...but FIRST!!!

You must establish the daily coverage schedule. That is to say... the heads you need on duty at any given time for each day of the week.

Then determine who needs to be there and when.

Publish this data to the employees and work out the schedules from there, putting the onus on them to cover the hours and heads that are needed.

Make sure that all duty requirements are covered and published. Then make sure that everyone has a copy of the schedule.

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You got it...

by JaniceW In reply to No Problem

Flex time is an important benefit common in most IT organizations. Having a schedule that is different only two days a week, but consistently different is actually only the surface of flex time. Keep in mind that flex time may mean a one time change for something like a doctor's appointment, etc. too. I'd say that even that level of flex time is a good benefit for employees.

The keys are all laid out here. What hours of coverage do you need? How many of the staff have to be there during those hours? What requirements for working together does your staff need? As long as you are covered for your business needs, flexing even on a one-time basis is a good idea and highly motivating. All sorts of tools from low-tech white boards to high-tech software can be used.

I have five full-time staff members and all have flexibility in setting their hours within the parameters of the work need. Never a problem, not abused. If you do see it being abused, address it early, firmly and fairly.

Definitely - DO THIS! Big benefits for the employee and for you as the manager with a satisfied staff.

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telecommuting should be allowed completely!

by squaredge In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

With ICQ and any of the other chat functions, offices don't even need to exist anymore. Have your weekly meetings at Starbucks. Let your people work from home and save the expense of that office overhead. Sheesh! Haven't we learned anything?

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Complete consistency may not be possible

by randalbin In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

I am a part-time degree seeking student and full time IT Professional. I have come to the point where I require classes that are not offered in the evenings. My employer has been very cooperative in allowing me to shift my hours of attendance a couple of times per year.

For example right now I am out of the office from 1:30 PM to about 3:15 PM every Monday and Wednesday. As a result I am staying an extra hour on Monday through Thursday to complete work that I would normally have done during those hours. These hours change with every semester but I make every effort to keep consistent hours throughout each semester and revert to the standard office schedule during the summer months.

In a small IT department (3 programmers - 1 Net Admin) this can sometimes introduce support coverage issues but we have worked through them.

I also have a colleague whose children cannot arrive at school until 8:10 AM, so he comes in at 8:30. Since our office typically works from 7 - 4 this is a noticeable deviation from everyone else, but he has kept 8:30 - 5:30 hours for several years now with no detrimental effects.

I think flexibility is one key to building loyalty in your staff members.

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yes...or else

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

Flex time is almost expected these days. Whether evaluating new job opportunities or assessing content with current job situation, this factor is a hot topic with employees these days.

From a personal standpoint, when I discuss benefits with a potential employer, the question that I ask is "Please explain to me your flex-time options" as opposed to "Do you offer flex-time working arrangements". It is expected that companies offer flex-time these days. At this stage in my life, not being given flex-time is grounds for a deal breaker. I've discussed this issue in the past with several colleagues and most seem to agree, that flex-time can make or break hiring negotiations, or even play into a decision to seek new employment.

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by PgrmMgr In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

I have read through the comments thus far and as expected, find several theories on the subject. I can say from witnessing the technology explosion first hand (at least my 30 year window) we live in a very different work world than we did just a few short years ago. Our customer's needs are first, that hasn't changed much. I'm sure our respective companies didn't hire us because they thought we might like a job or solely for our own convenience. They had a need, and we were the ones chosen to fill that need.

As supervisors, aren't we responsible for getting the most out of what we have to work with? including all resources? Better productivity equals better customer satisfaction?

It quickly becomes a two way street. The organization is it's people, and it's people work best with less unnecessary stressors in their life. Flex times are a great way of reducing the everyday stressors as well as building good working relationships, especially if workload and coverages are discussed and concluded my the work force. Buy-in? Ownership? Responsibility? Of course, if there has to be a command decision...................

As supervisors, we can't hide behind things like "it makes my job harder" or that doesn't fit what's written on the stone tablet in HR. (I'm sure HR has a different view) We live in an extremely dynamic world where communication and information is our business. By adhering to what seemed to work OK years ago, probably because it was thought of as being a safe and proven practice, we sacrifice efficiency. Progress was still obtained, but not on a level that is required to be competitive by today's standards. With having to do more with less, we better start tweaking our methods accordingly and practicing what we preach. Has anybody heard of outsourcing?

Each of the 15 support people I manage are different, aren't we all? Why do we try to shoe-horn people into the exact same mold. Square pegs, round holes??? They do fit, after a bunch of kicking and screaming, get out the knife and amputate, by gosh we'll make'm fit even if we have to kill them to do it.

The real power of management is to leverage the strengths of our resources, in this case people. Hopefully we hired them because we saw some potential, something that our organizations could really use, not just another expendable warm body! Are they left brained? right brained? There is a place for both, hopefully that was a consideration when hiring.

What we really need to stay away from is our own subjective beliefs in what "justifies" some decisions. Day-care is OK but bowling is not? That opens up the door for quite an argument. Bill bowls, that doesn't seem to be a good reason for.....what................... flexing his hours? (that precedent has already been set, or has it been based on your version of what is worthy) or to not meet business needs? There is a difference.

Charlie has day-care obligations? Bill didn't tell him to hire that particular day-care place with the unaccommodating hours nor did Bill tell him he should have kids at all. How dare he have a personal life! Does someone with 6 kids get 6 times the flexibility? Sarcasm? maybe a little, but only to make my point. Decisions based on subjective matter only digs the hole deeper. And what if the boss is a bowler with no kids?

Stay on task as a supervisor. Maintain a clear view of the real objective. Don't get caught up in people's subjectively opinionated worlds when making decisions. If flexible time has been established, work is covered, organizational needs are met, then I don't care what they do when they aren't at work, it is their time and everybody has the same rules to play by. If they take advantage of that benefit, great. If not, it's there choice.

Granted, some employees would rather not or just plain can't see the two way street as such, and that can make things rough. One of the biggest ground rules that HAS TO BE SET in any employee conduct guide is... it is not their job to get in each other's business!!! I can't say that loud enough. If that can somehow be written on that stone tablet in HR, the rest will fall into place easier. If one disgruntled employee finds a sympathetic ear, you'll be in for a rough ride no matter what job efficiency you have established.

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Scheduling with 3

by tekwitpurpose In reply to Hours - (IT Scheduling)

I am responsible for a team of 2 technicians and myself which makes 3 of us and we have managed to create a schedule that allows an extra day off during the week. I am not sure what your coverage schedule is for your company but we are responsible for coverage from 6am - 6pm. Therefore we each work 2 12-hr shifts and 2 8-hr shifts to make this happen which opens up an extra day during the week. Not sure if this would work in your environment but thought I would just throw this out there as a consideration. I know your technician was asking for a 2 day alteration but maybe having a whole extra day off may help also. Just a thought.

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