Flexible Working Schedules

Greenboy

Member
Location
Seattle, WA
I want to ask about Flexible working schedules, and gain feedback from experiences, and opinions on how this could, or would work in construction.

Other than office staff able to work from home once or twice a week(or for more of the lucky ones, the entire week), how can this type of work schedule be incorporated with construction? It is easy to think that foreman and superintendents are able to incorporate this in their schedule, .e.m study drawings, author RFI, Review updated drawings, etc. But what about the installers? Is there any way to apply this schedule to installers? OR, is this something they can look forward to after apprenticeship.

Some may think(especially old timers) "how is this schedule indicative on this line of work?" I read on another social media platform that flexible work schedules are among us to keep young up and comers engage in their positions. This discussion was directed more for in office staff. But what is the difference with construction field staff? And as more youngsters enter this line of work, keeping them engage in construction, we may have to think outside the box to keep energized. Or maybe just the typical solution to just pay them more.

Thoughts???
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I want to ask about Flexible working schedules, and gain feedback from experiences, and opinions on how this could, or would work in construction.

Other than office staff able to work from home once or twice a week(or for more of the lucky ones, the entire week), how can this type of work schedule be incorporated with construction? It is easy to think that foreman and superintendents are able to incorporate this in their schedule, .e.m study drawings, author RFI, Review updated drawings, etc. But what about the installers? Is there any way to apply this schedule to installers? OR, is this something they can look forward to after apprenticeship.

Some may think(especially old timers) "how is this schedule indicative on this line of work?" I read on another social media platform that flexible work schedules are among us to keep young up and comers engage in their positions. This discussion was directed more for in office staff. But what is the difference with construction field staff? And as more youngsters enter this line of work, keeping them engage in construction, we may have to think outside the box to keep energized. Or maybe just the typical solution to just pay them more.

Thoughts???
How flexible do you want this schedule? You want to come in at 10 and go home at 2?
examples would be nice.

let me give one...
your on a three man crew. The boss wants to work from 7AM to 4 PM.
the supply houses open from 7:00AM to 5PM.
you want to come in at 10 and go home at 6.
The other guy wants to stay out and work on Saturday from home bending conduit.(don’t have a clue how that’s going to be done and be right...)
who you or the boss going to depend on to be there to help with the tasks at hand???
 

Greenboy

Member
Location
Seattle, WA
How flexible do you want this schedule? You want to come in at 10 and go home at 2?
examples would be nice.
Could be! Or could be, come in twice or three times a week, and work from home the remaining days.

Is anyone doing this kind of scheduling with their crews, and how productive is this?
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Could be! Or could be, come in twice or three times a week, and work from home the remaining days.

Is anyone doing this kind of scheduling with their crews, and how productive is this?
Work from home doing what??
How you going to pull wire from home???
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Not practical to pull wire from home. Sounds like you haven't had any experience in this. I am asking if anyone tried this on their project(s), I am open to listening to their feedback.
I have, and do work from home at times when I need to do nothing but computer work to analyze test files or get other data together for various projects. Actually, I don’t like working from home all that much. I like the office if I can get everyone to stay out of it I also have to make sure my crew has their assignments and materials. That doesn’t mean I can’t be called or expected to go to the jobsite.

Im also higher than a “grunt” as you call yourself.

Construction field staff.., are you presently going to school to do something other than actually doing physical work?

at some point the young “up and comers” have to understand that the work has to actually be physically installed and done by extremely competent people.

for the record, I’m in the field. I’m hourly. I also make more than my boss.


Thats how outside field work is when your on call and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

take this how you want... sounds like you have some self entitlement issues.
 

Greenboy

Member
Location
Seattle, WA
I have, and do work from home at times when I need to do nothing but computer work to analyze test files or get other data together for various projects. Actually, I don’t like working from home all that much. I like the office if I can get everyone to stay out of it I also have to make sure my crew has their assignments and materials. That doesn’t mean I can’t be called or expected to go to the jobsite.

Im also higher than a “grunt” as you call yourself.

Construction field staff.., are you presently going to school to do something other than actually doing physical work?

at some point the young “up and comers” have to understand that the work has to actually be physically installed and done by extremely competent people.

for the record, I’m in the field. I’m hourly. I also make more than my boss.


Thats how outside field work is when your on call and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

take this how you want... sounds like you have some self entitlement issues.
Thank you for your feedback. No self entitlement here. Just trying to gain productive feedback to share with the rest of my team(and to understand it myself). I too, have a hard time with this kind of approach, as I have been in the construction trade for over 23 years, and in management. Forums and column write ups, makes it appear that there is a trend for work flexible schedule in construction are on the horizon, and trying to determine how this would apply.

Based on your comment above, you deal with field staff directly, like a project manager or superintendent, along with the skill set to put your tools on as needed. I have to agree with you 100% with your comment above. I can see where this can be applied at certain times of a project if projects are large 2 year or longer projects, or dealing with multiple projects. Or if you own small to medium size company, and you are wearing many different hats.

I greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Forums and column write ups, makes it appear that there is a trend for work flexible schedule in construction are on the horizon...
Ahh, that's where this is coming from! They are trying to cater to the millennial mentality so that maybe they might be interested in doing some actual work. Besides allowing them to come and go as they please and take the day off whenever there is a concert playing, you are going to need a trailer with cots so they can do nap-nap for an hour or so because the little buggers get sooo tired. :sleep:

The trades are racking their brains trying to get new workers to replace us old retiring farts who know something other than texting.

We're doomed. :weeping:

-Hal
 

Greenboy

Member
Location
Seattle, WA
Ahh, that's where this is coming from! They are trying to cater to the millennial mentality so that maybe they might be interested in doing some actual work. Besides allowing them to come and go as they please and take the day off whenever there is a concert playing, you are going to need a trailer with cots so they can do nap-nap for an hour or so because the little buggers get sooo tired. :sleep:

The trades are racking their brains trying to get new workers to replace us old retiring farts who know something other than texting.

We're doomed. :weeping:

-Hal
:eek:hmy: -> Are we really doomed? I am afraid that if we do not think this way for the future, and continue with the hard nose leadership approach, which we have learned and embraced from our mentors, we will chase the interest out of the up and coming labor force.
 
Could be! Or could be, come in twice or three times a week, and work from home the remaining days.

Is anyone doing this kind of scheduling with their crews, and how productive is this?
I guess it all depends on how flexible you mean by flexible. Nobody is working from home, that's for sure, but there is some wiggle room in the work hours where I work. We've got one journeyman who shows up an hour to an hour and half later than the rest of the crew and stays later.

I'm the lead guy on a project with four other guys. I refuse to act like we all work at a factory where you are timed to the minute. Someone shows up a little late because he's taking care of some family stuff or the morning didn't go right, no problem. Need to get off a little early to go to a doctor appointment, no worries. Need to stay later to make up some missed hours so you still get a full check, I'll find something for you to do that I can check on in the morning to be sure you stayed and worked and it's all good. It goes both ways too. We need to work through lunch and eat standing up and stay a little late to get ready for an inspection, nobody complains. Since it's a small crew we all agreed to shorten up our morning coffee break and lunch break and get off work two hours early on Friday.

And by the way these guys are all in their 20s and 30s. I have not seen any of the behavior everybody claims the you get from kids these days. They all work hard, are very willing to learn and do as directed, and the only one on his phone all day is me answering emails from the home office and filling out daily forms that nobody looks at.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
:eek:hmy: -> Are we really doomed? I am afraid that if we do not think this way for the future, and continue with the hard nose leadership approach, which we have learned and embraced from our mentors, we will chase the interest out of the up and coming labor force.
Wait... we need to change everyone else’s schedule and adapt the workplace so the millennials with their self entitled attitudes will grace us with their presence on the job?
It isn’t a hard nosed leadership approach. It’s the way to get jobs done. There should be a set structure to keep jobs running on time and in budget.

I still don’t know or understand exactly how you are suggesting we adapt the work schedules and make them flexible enough to keep production up. Again, someone actually has to wire something up, or drive nails, or dig ditches to keep America going. We can’t do those things at home.

The real problem is they want to make a hundred thousand dollars a year and do it on their terms.

we had one that didn’t want to sweat or use a shovel because, and I quote, “I’m not working that hard for $19.35 an hour”. He was with our company for three months before we fired him because of his attitude. He was 21 years old, Just married, and bought a brand new car when he was hired. His wife just had a baby, and he had rent to pay.
I guess mama and daddy are paying his bills now.

they're not all like that. We got a couple less than 25 that are awesome. They work hard and smart, want to learn, and are eager to glean advice to help them along the way.
 

Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
At some point, the work just needs to get done.

Folks can take time off, if they write their name on the calendar in advance.

But, a flexible working schedule sounds like it would only cater to the employee for the most part, and only serve to make scheduling harder for management and customers.

Anything that's more difficult is less efficient. Anything that's less efficient makes less money. Which is the polar opposite of what a business is trying to achieve.

The work in our shop is done as a team effort. It would be hard to create a team environment if everyone is coming in at random times doing their own thing....
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
:eek:hmy: -> Are we really doomed? I am afraid that if we do not think this way for the future, and continue with the hard nose leadership approach, which we have learned and embraced from our mentors, we will chase the interest out of the up and coming labor force.
There is no up and coming labor force because there is no interest! So you read some article somewhere that says we should kiss millennial butt because we are desperate for workers. News flash! Month after month there are the same articles in every trade's publications saying basically the same thing except with a different slant for the particular trade. I've linked to several of them here that go into the reasons for there being no interest in the trades. Those threads turned into pages and pages expanding on what was said. Look em up!

Basically, until we as a society recognize the trades as a legitimate vocation and not a job that stigmatizes the person as a loser because they didn't go to college we will never fulfill our employment objective.

-Hal
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Basically, until we as a society recognize the trades as a legitimate vocation and not a job that stigmatizes the person as a loser because they didn't go to college we will never fulfill our employment objective.

-Hal
I second that comment.
i came out of high school and went straight into construction. Bounced around with electricians and building contractors for a while, getting my contractors license and eventually my electrical license after I had the experience and qualified.

Didn’t get into linework until my mid 30s...

I didn’t go to college until I was in my late 30s, but I did it for me rather than work. It just happened to pay off.

Most lineworkers get into the trade without college, although most places send their guys to get a two year degree in linework(yes, they have that now) at some point in their apprenticeship training.
That being said, most lineworkers without college make six figures a year easy.
talk about flexible hours... we come in when the phone rings plus an 8 hour day...
 

USMC1302

Senior Member
Location
NW Indiana
First post with new format.... I like Dave's situation, and wish everybody could cooperate and get along like that. When you have a good group(usually small), it can work. Having discretion to be flexible with hours, as long as the work gets done, and the "accommodating" doesn't take priority over the business needs is great. It has to work both ways, and there should be loyalty from the employee to the company as well. Most of the "rules" I have to deal with are due to the 10% that are mopes and cause problems for the rest.
 

Greenboy

Member
Location
Seattle, WA
First off, thank you for your time and response in this.

ActionDave, great feedback and definition of flexible work! I feel that you have great synergy with you’re your field staff. I like those kinds of projects where everyone can work in sync with each other, and trust each other’s integrity. I feel that these kinds of crews produce positive attitude, and productive results. It is a smaller crew, so easier to manage. With this size crew, I would imagine it does not favor working from home.

Hv&Lv, I am not in favor of adjusting everyone’s schedule just for 1 or 2 person’s inability to find that construction is not a career. I agree with you about the 21-year-old. We all deal with those kinds of employees. I am not here to suggesting anything, other than researching “how would/could flexible work schedules work in construction”. A lot of companies outside of construction exercise flex work schedules. Maybe it’s because they are enclosed in an office, and need a break from everyday monotonous task, and same staff. Construction is different, sites changes, once you are done with a project, it is most likely a different crew, (pending on size of course), site, SOW.

Cow, this is a good topic you bring up. It is about the field staff. You can bring in all the work, but without them, there would be no one to execute the scope of work. It is management’s job to work with the field staff. It is already hard for management to schedule employees, even without trying to think about flexible work schedules.
You’re right! Inefficiency loses money, Lack of safety loses money, unhappy field staff loses money, because it lacks productivity. That is not what we are in the business for. What are we in business for? I am in the business to make a difference. How you make money is what surrounds you, and how you deal with it (the challenge).

Hbiss, USDOL Statistics reports that from 2011 to 2018, there have been a consistent average increase of about 111% of new apprentices. However, the numbers of new apprentices vs. completers declined from 42% in 2011, down to 30% in 2018. It clearly shows that there are initial interests. But it begs the question, how do we retain them. We all advocate that construction is a career, because we take pride in what we do. I would like to believe that most of us has entered some kind of apprenticeship training (our own kind of college). In concert with Hv&Lv’s comment, making six figures is a huge investment for the company. After their training, again, how do we retain them?

These are great comments, and greatly appreciate them. My taking away from is that -> currently, in construction, flexible work schedule is status quo. There is minor work schedule flexibility when the crew can all agree, work together and trust each other’s integrity, or if the construction schedule dictates it. We will or should not change work schedules, or flex for 1 or 2 crew members who shows lack of interest in this career. I do not think this is a millennial thing. As I am typing this, one if my project engineers walked in my office and asked me about team building. LOL. I’ll save this for another topic. Flexible work schedule is occurring, and has been in the trade for some time. It all comes down to the staff.
 
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mayanees

Senior Member
Location
Westminster, MD
I can comment from an engineering perspective. Firms are looking for more ways to keep their employees. The company I work for in Baltimore, MD has enacted "core hours" from 9-3 such that we need to cover that timeframe. I work from 6-3, which saves me almost two hours a day in my daily 80-mile roundtrip commute when compared to the old 7:30-4:30 schedule. I'm home by 4:00 now and that's really nice.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
They may have been criticized, but previous generations largely became functioning members of society after graduating high school.

-Hal
Could that be because they were actually required to accomplish something (Attending classes and getting passing grades) in order to graduate from high school ?
 
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