flexible work & schedules

Taking notes

predictable scheduling

Predictable scheduling involves ensuring that employees have some control over their scheduled working hours, not changing work schedules without employees’ consent, and/or giving employees advanced warning about changes to their work schedules.

benefit to employers

  • Increases productivity

  • Increases retention, reducing
    turnover costs


  • Reduces employee absenteeism

  • Increases morale, loyalty, commitment

benefit to families

  • Allows employees to plan for child care, transportation, and budgets

  • Leads to better child development outcomes because of more stability for childcare arrangements, which improves cognitive and behavioral outcomes and language development

  • Lowers stress for parents and improves overall healthy behaviors


case study: Cargill

Production facilities pursuing flexibility in scheduling to meet labor demands

Historically, given demand for their products, Cargill’s production plants have operated six days a week, requiring production employees to work periodically on holidays and weekends. However, given labor pressures and an increased demand for flexibility, the company has shifted to a predictable five days/week schedule in all of its production facilities. Today, employees can choose to work overtime on weekends. 


Flexible scheduling has long been available for Cargill’s non-production workforce (see case study). But flexibility in scheduling is a newer concept in the company’s production facilities, and it’s starting to take hold, according to Alisa Brown, Production Recruitment Process Lead at Cargill’s facility in Wichita, Kansas. She said the company is developing a corporate labor strategy with a leading consulting firm that has 12 workstreams, from childcare to scheduling, aimed at its production workforce.


For example, Cargill is considering an app that allows employees to select their shifts and swap shifts with their colleagues. While the idea is in its infancy, an approach like this would empower employees to control their schedule to meet their personal and family’s needs. 


They’re also looking to implement part-time options in production facilities. There is a pilot at the Fort Morgan,
Colorado plant. 


“We have vacancies everywhere, so we want to operationalize ways to fill the gaps and reduce the stress on the current workforce,” said Brown. “There is a pool of potential employees who cannot — or don’t want to — work full time, and we need to better engage them, as they could be contributing to our organization.” 


According to Brown, companies that are creative and flexible are going to win in the labor market. 


“Flexibility isn’t a fad,” said Brown. “It’s critical to attracting talent now and to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, which is important to Cargill’s value proposition. As part of our push toward equity, we started offering benefits to part-time workers so our employees don’t have to compromise their benefits to pursue work schedules that meet their family’s needs.” 

Location:        Wayzata, Minn.

Employees:    155,000
Industry:         Bio-industrial and agriculture
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Sample Policy

This policy sample is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies.

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