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Flexible schedules are quickly becoming a great draw for candidates. In fact, 83% of businesses already offer some kind of flexible scheduling to their employees, and 43% of Gartner survey respondents say flexibility  helps them be more productive. In nursing, a flexible schedule can prevent burnout and help workers feel rested, respected, and satisfied at work.  

We unpack what you need to know. 

Types of Flexible Schedules for Nurses 

Alternative Scheduling 

Alternative scheduling can mean many things, including staggered start times, shorter shifts, and abbreviated work weeks. Carry out formal surveys and informal temperature checks to gauge what options your employees would most appreciate. 

The idea of alternative scheduling is to let your nurses pick the schedule that fits them. For example, some nurses may choose to preserve their stamina by working shorter shifts on more days per week. Others may choose to double up on shifts and allow themselves longer weekends—if you notice workers routinely choose this strategy, though, be watchful for signs of burnout. 

Staggered start times can also help nurses preserve work-life balance. Say a nurse needs to drop their kids off at 8:00 AM, but their shift normally starts at the same time. An 8:30 AM start time can help them work their shift while still putting their family first. 

Float Pools

Float pool nurses are registered nurses who fill open shifts on short notice. These positions are best for nurses who enjoy flexibility and don’t mind a certain amount of unpredictability. Hiring float pool nurses can also help your permanent staff feel less overloaded, as long as you’re able to integrate them into your company culture. 

Job Sharing 

Job sharing is when two or more people work part-time to collectively take on the duties of one full-time role. If you’re having trouble finding full-time candidates, job sharing gives you the opportunity to tap into part-time talent and increase your candidate pool. 

However, for job sharing to work, there has to be a great deal of communication between employees and managers. Each part-time workers must understand their individual duties and the logistics of billing their hours. 

Work From Home 

It might seem that most nurses can’t work from home, but that isn’t necessarily true. Nurse administrators and telehealth nurses may do parts or all of their jobs remotely. But other registered nurses can do parts of their job from home as well, such as working with insurance companies, updating files, and answering calls. 

Of course, most nursing jobs can’t be fully remote—but there’s value in permitting work from home for some of your employees. In fact, 60% of employees who work from home say they’d like to work remotely even after the pandemic ends. 

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Benefits of Offering Flexible Schedules for Nurses

Reduce Burnout 

It’s not uncommon for workers to put their personal lives on the back burner. In fact, a 2015 Deloitte survey found that 32% of employees have placed work over their personal commitments in a period of six months. 

It can be hard to maintain work-life balance while working as a nurse. A flexible schedule can help employees prioritize their family and personal obligations while still bringing their all to work. 

Learn how to reduce burnout 

Increase Retention 

If you’re experiencing high churn, flexible schedules can help you retain employees. According to Flexjobs, a staggering 80% of survey respondents stated that access to flexible working schedules would increase their sense of loyalty to their employers, while over half (52%) said that they’d already brought up flexible working options at their company. 

Learn how to increase retention 

Attract Candidates

According to CareerBuilder’s Kristen Kelley,  “flexibility is the new norm and expectation from employees.” For those working in nursing, a flexible schedule can be a great draw. This is particularly true for working parents and caregivers. 

Drawbacks of Flexible Scheduling 

It Won’t Solve Everything  

Flexible scheduling isn’t a magic solution to burnout. While flexible scheduling may allow nurses to better care for themselves and their families, that doesn’t mean healthcare workers will stop being overloaded. For example, if a nurse decides to take double shifts (or feels that they have to), they may end up feeling burned out over time. Consider what options you’ll offer, including caps on hours worked, to prevent burnout in a flexible work environment. 

It Can Be Complicated 

Scheduling shifts for nurses can already be a headache. When you’re adding in new flexible options, things can get even more complicated—fast. 

Use reliable software and communicate often to reduce scheduling errors. Without proper clarification, employees may have issues with changing to a new system, leading to missed or late shifts. 

Better Hiring With Apploi 

While you’re introducing flexible schedules Apploi can take administrative labor out of your hands with easy to use hiring, onboarding, and management software. 

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end hiring solution.

Pritma Chattha, DNP MHA RN

Pritma is a Yale-educated nurse executive with 18 years of experience advocating for patients at the bedside and in the boardroom. She currently serves as the Head of Healthcare Innovation at Apploi—healthcare's leading recruitment and credentialing platform. Over the last decade, Pritma has honed her expertise as a health informaticist, building and improving electronic health records and credentialing platforms. She is the immediate former Executive Director of Electronic Quality and Safety for Alberta Health Services, the largest health system in Canada. Pritma enjoys rethinking healthcare processes to provide safer, better, and more accessible healthcare.