This article was first published in ICMI.
As part of the overall strategy in today’s remote workplace, microshifts are a tool for negating gaps in staffing requirements. When strategically utilized, microshifts can serve as a powerful tool to promote employee engagement on the virtual operations floor.
Organizations utilizing microshifts to fill gaps in their normal employee work schedules for high contact times or to meet staffing requirements can have a competitive edge operationally.
This strategy sends a clear message to employees that the company is willing to work short schedules around employees’ lives. In essence, employees believe that the company cares about them and their families. This can positively impact all areas of the virtual organization, including training, nesting, quality assurance, and recruiting initiatives.
Employee engagement strategies that incorporate microshifts give the company the opportunity to communicate business needs and equate those needs with the employee benefit of having a more customizable schedule, which can include one or more microshifts. This allows employees to have a greater work/life balance and encourages employees to participate in fulfilling a business need. Employees can connect the dots on how their behavior and the business strategy can be aligned.
As employees come in for these short shifts, they can experience different workflows, different employees, different kinds of customer/client interactions, and, in some cases, a different manager on the operations floor. This gives them a more expanded frame of reference of what goes on within the company and an opportunity to grow new friendships and working relationships. In companies that incorporate a true “open door policy,” these micro-shifts can offer the opportunity for work-at-home employees to be that “second set of eyes” and identify gaps and opportunities that team members working with the same people day after day might miss.
As most leaders know, being flexible is part of being a leader in any organization. Challenging leadership development candidates to take on some micro-shifts within their schedule will help with staffing requirements and give these candidates the opportunity to help support their team chats.
Organizations that reengineer how they navigate the virtual/work-at-home environment will have additional opportunities to drive employee engagement through creative strategies. Microshifts can be a great opportunity for both the company and the employees that can reap huge rewards.
Recognized as a subject-matter expert on virtual/work-at-home environments and leadership development, Vicki Brackett has written for and been interviewed by Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, CFO Magazine, CEOWorld, HR News, Training Magazine, and a host of other publications, news outlets and podcasts on creative work-at-home and employee engagement strategies.