You are a great boss. Your employees love you and your business is growing faster than you thought possible. Your office is fun and your workers get excited to contribute their talents every day. At least that is what you are trying to create. We all want to be the best boss ever. Being a small business owner or entrepreneur you want to create a work environment with an excellent work-life balance for your employees but that can be easier said than done.
In recent news, Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, announced that company was discontinuing its telecommuting policy and workers would be required to come in every day. This seems to be contrary to the trend that sees employers offering telecommuting options, flexible hours, in-office recreation options, retreats, happy hours and more. But before you jump on this wave of being the greatest boss of all time, there are a few things you should take note of.
First thing is first: put your policy in writing. There are employment laws and statutes that your policy must comply with. You don’t want to blindly start running a flexible hours schedule and find out you are breaking laws regarding overtime. If your policy is in writing, not only does everyone know the rules for your policy, but you can make sure those rules will keep you from becoming liable for violating a statute.
You also are going to want to be consistent across the board with enforcing this policy. It’s one thing to enact an alternative work policy when you are leading a team of 10 or less but it’s another to have that policy when your business grows and you are leading a team of managers that are overseeing other employees. Instead of having different managers or leaders trying to enforce your policy, it might be better to hire one person or nominate one person to act as a human resource department. This centralizes all approvals or denials of the policies and also creates one record keeping system (which can become important if there ever is a dispute down the road).
Finally (and this is where your general counsel can be vital) you have to make sure that your work-life policy is not confused with Family and Medical Leave Act or American’s with Disabilities Act requirements. An employee asking to work part time because they need to take care of an ailing child is not a request under the work-life policy but a demand under the FMLA. These are mistakes you do not want to make as an employer.
These alternative work-life policies are great tools that allow you to attract more diverse and in-demand talent in addition to keeping employee moral high. But these policies must be thought out and written and executed in compliance with existing laws. An experienced business law firm can assist you with this as well as developing an employee handbook that can help avoid other employee-employer issues.
Souces: “Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Demands Telecommuters Report To The Office” by Huffington Post
“Finally Get a Handle on Work-Life Balance” by Chas Rampenthal of Inc.com