In review of BJ’s posts, I see three primary problems here.
The first one appears to be the loss of flexibility. BJ’s current system is set up to be flexible and if he loses the flexibility to have the managers come in at odd hours he will lose significant productivity.
The next is the administrative burden of additional timekeeping. Scheduling and maintaining the time clock is a significant time sink that is not directly productive nor does it require a specialized skill set, but generally is performed by a management-level staff member.
The final problem is actually having to pay the managers time and a half. This seems to be the least of BJ’s concerns based on his posts, but that may or may not actually be the case.
In addition, there is the secondary concern about how the managers would feel about any change. A three thousand dollar a year hit at the compensation and skill levels he is talking about along w/ the removal of flex time may cause his employees to become unsatisfied and look for another job. Other collateral concerns may also develop as a result of any solution.
Before I start discussing possible solutions the time the managers currently work should be discussed. BJ has his managers working 40-50 hours a week on a regular basis. If they need to go down to a strict forty hour week then BJ’s company will need to consider how it will handle the loss of potentially forty hours a week of manhours. Expecting his workers to maintain their present level of total productivity in light of a potential twenty percent decrease in working hours is a pipedream. If BJ wants to maintain his current productivity and not hire additional staff then he will need to accept that overtime will need to paid out to his managers. As such, the expected best solution is problem going to be a partial mitigation of the harm resulting from this rule change rather than a total elimination of the additional cost.
To address flexibility, BJ may wish to examine the possibility of an on-call system. BJ ideally would like his managers to be able to come in at odd time, but presumably he would not need all of his managers available to be flexible all of the time. If BJ’s managers had a rotating on-call system where one manager is expected to be flexible for a period of time, say a week, and then it rotates to another manager that would salve some of the flexibility issues. Such a system may also benefit the managers themselves as they will be aware that they have to be flexible one week with less flexibility the following week in the cycle. While this would still require additional administrative bookkeeping for time keeping, it would reduce the amount of that additional work to a fraction.
Similar to the on-call system, an alternative is to build flexibility into their schedules. Book them for thirty five instead of forty hours a week and then anticipate that they will fill in those additional hours w/ the flexible assignments. Yes, occasionally there will be overruns resulting in overtime, but those will be inevitable if you want to maintain the same level of production.
If the administrative book keeping for the time clock is expected to be a significant burden, he may want to reexamine who performs that task. We are talking about loss of three thousand dollars a year of productivity presumably per manager totaling twelve grand a year. It seems likely to me that one could contract with an outside vendor for time clocking support for less than that. That’s just a gut impression on my part, and may be an inaccurate assessment of that cost. Nonetheless, it may be worth examining.
Along the same lines, it may be valuable to look at who does the time keeping internally and delegating that other tasks to other parties. If upper level managers are performing the time clock duties, it may be more efficient to delegate those responsibilities down to administrative support staff. By tasking that responsibility to a support employee, BJ may be able to rebalance the managerial work load such that an exempt employee is now responsible for being flexible rather than his newly non-exempt managers. Even if this delegation of work is not a total solution, it may still be valuable as a means to mitigate the loss of productivity suffered from the lack of flexibility in his non-exempt managers. Something where he could rebalance the work load to place the flexibility on the exempt employees and implementation of an on-call system could substantially mitigate the expected harm resulting from the managers becoming non-exempt.
Having the managers clock in and out for time keeping purposes doesn’t necessarily require them to have set, non-flexible schedules. Obviously it is easier for administrative purposes if they do, but that’s not a problem that can’t be overcome. I’m uncertain why BJ believes that having his managers clock in and out necessarily removes the flexibility they currently enjoy. It seems possible that he could maintain the current system of flexibility while also requiring them to clock in and out. This would not resolve the additional administrative costs required to maintain the time clock for them, but it sounds to me from BJ’s posts that the additional productivity resulting from the flexibility would have greater value than the resulting administrative cost.
The one course of action I would certainly recommend would be to ask your managers for their feedback. You’ve stated that they are there to solve problems, well this is a managerial problem for them to solve. Bring them and their supervisor in for a meeting, explain your concern and your anticipated course of action, and ask them to bring to you alternative solutions that work better for you. Set up a follow-up meeting in a week’s time where they can present these solutions.