It’s no secret that the remodeling industry is greying fast and that good employees for office and field are hard to come by. Getting members of the next generation involved in the industry — and retaining them — is on everyone’s mind.

Tom Reilly, owner of Renovations, in Prescott, Ariz., recognized that his younger employees have different expectations of the work world than people did 20 years ago. “Young people, particularly those with families, don’t fit neatly with 9 to 5 or 8 to 4. They have children to get in and out of day care. [Both husbands and wives] work together to take care of the kids,” he says.

Flextime for Families

Chris Gash

To retain employees and make his company attractive to new hires, Reilly instituted flextime. Employees can come in at 8, 8:30, or 9 a.m., and then work later into the day. “To some extent, we allow them to do what they can to get in 40 hours a week,” he says.

For production staff, managing family and work hours can be tricky, but in one case, Reilly helped a carpenter — a single dad — arrange care for his child so he could be on site by 7 a.m. “This allows him to concentrate on work and not have to worry about his son,” says Reilly, who was, for a time, a single father.

After Reilly’s architect gave birth, she worked from home, but she now brings the baby to the office each day until lunchtime. “At first it was ‘Let’s see the baby,’ but after a few weeks things got back to normal,” Reilly says. “It’s more advantageous to us to have her here [in the office].” Once the child is more mobile, he’ll be off to day care. But Reilly says that if his was a large enough company he would consider opening an office day care. “When you have an employee you want to keep, you figure out how to keep them,” he adds.

Although no one in the company has complained or grown resentful, Reilly recognizes that that’s a possibility. But company culture is such that open discussion is the norm. “Employees really appreciate being allowed to do this,” Reilly says. “They tend to take on more responsibility, too.”

Since instituting flextime five years ago, Reilly says that morale has been up and performance and productivity levels are where they should be. “I want employees who want to have families to know that I understand they need to be able to take care of them. If they feel comfortable doing that then it’s my belief they’ll do their jobs better.”