Workplace flexibility is about how, where and when people can work for the organization. To balance personal and professional responsibilities, it has become the most recent and common trend for organizations to support flexible work arrangements with a view to improving their business productivity and efficiency. Flexibility in the workplace is a movement that is positively changing the way that all work environments (no matter the size) function every day. According to recent research, approximately 80 percent of workers desire flexible workplaces, but only one-third are able to have it.
Organizations fortunate enough to be considered employers of choice know that one of the reasons they can attract and retain skilled staff is that they have established a workplace culture that supports flexible work practices. Before implementing flexible plans in your organization, it is essential to consider the important issues that can hamper the productivity of the business. Therefore, it is essential to identify and improve the problematic areas so that you can expect better dedication from the employees, more efficiency, higher retention rate and also higher business output.
Advantages of flexibility in workspaces
Here are some of the benefits a company gains by implementing a workplace flexibility program:
- It helps to attract New Talent
Maintaining a strong understanding of the work-life balance is crucial for running a successful business today. Employers and HR managers need to not only encourage the concept of integrating working life into the employee’s personal life, but they also require the strategic action to bring more choices and opportunities into their employee culture.
An organization often needs to adopt openness to the changing economy and workforce, and evolve along with it. By reassessing traditional workforce policies, HR managers can help reduce the work barriers that may lead employees with potential in their organization to seek out work flexibility that an outside company is able to offer. In actuality, finding new talent is not as challenging as retaining them.
- Flexibility improves productivity
When employees are more satisfied with their job, they are more engaged and more productive. Workplace flexibility gives employees a greater sense of control and well-being. This motivates them to work harder and be more productive. Companies that offer flexibility also experience fewer unscheduled absences. When employees have the ability to work from home, they can contribute even when their child is sick, they have to care for an elderly parent, or they aren’t feeling well enough to make the commute into the office. Finally, flexibility improves productivity because workers experience fewer interruptions, and thus can often get more work done, when they are working outside the office.
- It minimizes Annual Turnover
If you take a look at your numbers, you will find that hundreds to thousands of dollars are expended in turnover and replacement costs. Flexibility is not only cost-effective but being able to minimize the number of employee resignations at the end of the year also bolsters flexibility in the workplace as a cost-cutting strategy for HR managers. Employees that work in an inflexible environment are more likely to experience dissatisfaction and seek out other employment. This creates the additional time and cost of hiring and training new employees.
- Flexibility raises morale and job satisfaction
When employees have more flexibility to meet all the demands of work and life, they are more satisfied with their job and have higher morale. This is good news because there are clear links between job satisfaction and turnover. Employees that are able to balance their work and home responsibilities have greater job satisfaction and a more positive attitude towards work. The more satisfied the employee, the less likely they are to leave. Additionally, employee satisfaction is linked with customer retention and satisfaction. When your employees are satisfied they will treat your customers better. It’s a win-win for everyone.
- Flexibility reduces stress and burnout
When employees are stressed and burned out they have less commitment to their job and the organization and are more likely to have plans to leave the company. One survey found that half of the workers surveyed said job stress and burnout reduced their productivity. Employees that are stressed and burned out also are sick more often. When you offer your workers flexibility in how, when, and where they are working, they begin to get more sleep, spend more time exercising, and are better able to relax and unwind. When employees reduce their stress, they gain energy, eliminate burnout, and are more productive at work.
- It gives a sense of belonging
Workplace flexibility shows that a company cares about the well-being of its employees.
How businesses can implement workplace flexibility
Some ways businesses can implement workplace flexibility is by offering more flexible scheduling options, part-time hours, telecommuting options, job sharing, phased retirement, and unpaid leave for family-related matters. All of these options give employees more control over their work and home life – and that’s good for work health. What company doesn’t want healthy, happy productive employees? Workplace flexibility is one way to create a healthier work environment.
Here are few concerns that need to be sorted out before you proceed further with workplace flexibility:
1. Identify the positive and negative impact that will have on your customer service due to the alternative work arrangement.
2. To measure the amount of time, money and effort that will be involved in making flexible arrangements work for both employer and employee.
3. Evaluating the skills and knowledge of managers to ensure a smooth flexible plan for better results.
4. Identify the training sessions that can help managers and also co-workers to adopt flexible working environment smoothly.
5. Track down the potential problems that can arise by adopting flexibility in the workplace.
How to address these concerns
Most of the possible solutions will be available with the internal employees of an organization. Hence, you can conduct a survey in which you can ask your employees to keep their point of view and suggestions before the management. With their feedback, you can formulate the policies by considering their strengths and weaknesses, choosing the right options and then developing policies to be implemented within an organization.
It is true that there will be a necessity to alter a few policies to suit the employer and employees’ needs. Therefore, it is necessary to run a trial period so that you can evaluate the progress report. With this progress report, you will have a clear picture whether flexible work arrangement will work or not. If there is a need to do a little amendment, then you can again alter the work-life balance program to meet the varied requirements. These modifications will help in overcoming the pitfalls of adopting flexibility at the workplace.
In conclusion, Flexibility in the workplace is an important long-term business goal that has a major payoff in the end. Employees gain the feeling of trust, respect, and freedom as a result of having flexible work options. With the opportunities to take part in personal and family activities through flexibility in their jobs, they are more motivated to productive job performance while they’re in the office. By openly communicating with employees and maintaining a flexible perspective on employee working conditions, an employer will discover many of the valuable time and cost savings and a prosperous future that aligns employee and employer needs for effective growth.