Can a Machine Operator Have a Flexible Work Schedule?

The demand and need for flexible work schedules are increasing rapidly. Families increasingly feel that work takes them away from essential home tasks, like taking care of children, spouses, and elderly parents. In addition, a lack of free time to deal with sudden emergencies or simply to relax is leading to increased burnout in every industry.

With these factors in mind, many employers – even in manufacturing – are looking at the factors required to offer flexible work schedules to every employee. Here’s what employers need to consider when looking at how to create more flexibility for machine operators:

  1. Flexible Work Schedules Have Already Reached Manufacturing

A study by the Families and Work Institute found that manufacturing employees are equally likely to be allowed to work some hours at home as employees of other industries. While manufacturing employees are less likely to be able to work compressed workweeks or to change their start/ending times, the differences are quite small (38 percent versus 46 percent).

  1. Leverage Data to Match Work Hours to Demand

The rise of artificial intelligence in analytics has made it easier than ever for companies to pinpoint fluctuations in productivity and demand and to schedule staff accordingly. Once you know where the most essential hours for machine operators fall, you gain the ability to focus flex time efforts on less-vital stretches of time.

  1. Rebalancing Paid Time Off May Help Compensate For An Inflexible Work Schedule

If your machine operators are an essential presence during certain times of the day and week, consider reevaluating how paid time off is allotted between vacation and sick days. The Families and Work study found that while manufacturing staff are more likely than other workers to have paid vacations, they are less likely to receive at least five paid sick leave days a year.

  1. Consider Rearranging Schedules or Working With Contract Staff

In manufacturing, workers are often interested in working less than full time – but they’re also less likely than workers in other industries to know this is an option. Offering employees the opportunity to work together to rearrange schedules, and calling in temporary or contract workers when needed, can help create the feel of flextime while also ensuring a qualified machine operator is always available.

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