The COVID pandemic has created a major shift in the workplace which included employees deciding where they want to work, when and how. This produced the term workplace flexibility which is an approach to work that looks at the specific needs of the employees introducing flexible workplace practices. It made people realize that flexible work is very important in work satisfaction and leaders should restructure the way job operations can function. The value of workplace flexibility in two years has dramatically increased and has become the new norm while searching for a new job. Many employees have figured out that working in employer-controlled workspaces does not increase their work efficiency that much. In addition, many have found freedom in work to increase productivity, wellbeing and performance. Each manager should pay attention to the following reasons for flexible work because that is how you will attract more great talent and preserve hard working employees in the company.
When anyone thinks of workplace flexibility, the first thing that comes to mind is flexible work hours. It means that employees can choose how many hours they want to work and in which ones. This is an important factor to remember. According to a Digital Experience Survey, 43% of people said that flexible hours helped achieve greater productivity, more than any other thing. The secret of letting employees choose when they want to work is that they can maximize the hours when they feel the most motivated and energized to produce maximum productivity. Another suggestion would also be for employees to choose how long they work. Putting emphasis on performance and efficient work instead of counting hours will do good for the company and make the whole organization more productive.
Another part of a flexible workspace which is similar to flexible hours is scheduling. For an employee to have flexible work it is important to figure out the needs of the employee regarding when they work and don’t work. Getting out of the 9-5 schedule bubble frees a person because not everyone prefers the same style of work. Productivity increases because the needs of the employee are actually met and the manager allows for such work that helps the person be the most efficient. This could come in a few forms. Some might prefer the offer to have a part-time schedule, others may want to have a 4 day workweek and have three days free every week or even days for paid leave, in other words sabbaticals. Whatever the schedule an employee would want, a manager can always adapt and present the best fit to motivate the employee and create an environment for productivity.
Lastly, flexibility cannot go without the idea of distributed work or remote work. Remote work gained instant popularity in 2020 and still holds as one of the biggest factors for workplace flexibility. Companies choose how they structure their work, some have a few days for online work and mostly in the office while others allow for full remote work. This is a popular topic for employees because many people feel like remote work gives them more autonomy, control of their time and allows them to choose a working environment where they feel productive and focused. Some feel more stressed when working in an office while others thrive surrounded by people and prefer having only a few days a month working online. The secret is giving the employee the chance to choose. There are always operations that can be handled online so it is all a matter of decision.
Every company should have flexibility as the core value of the organization. It helps employees achieve higher productivity by commuting less, having no office distractions and taking advantage of the hours. Giving employees the chance to choose where they want to work and when improves employee engagement. They trust in their team more, feel accountable for the work they do so employee retention is also higher. All in all, even if you are not convinced of giving full flexibility to employees, it will be the future of work. As time goes by, more and more companies introduce flexible work policies which eventually are linked to a better and more productive workspace.