A recent survey conducted by Aequalis Consulting shows that one of the most desired work benefits among employees is work place flexibility.
There has been a great deal of talk lately about how the changes and demands of today’s workplace are affecting employees’ lives. Adapting to these changes and demands, as well as to company growth goals, requires employees to work smarter and improve their work practices to be more effective and productive.
Employees are striving for improved quality and effectiveness both in their work and their personal lives. When employees achieve these goals, their employers benefit as well.
Some benefits of workplace flexibility include:
Increasing skills and creativity of your managers - managers are challenged to look outside the square, develop leadership skills and manage a more diverse workforce.
- Save jobs - with less space costs or occasionally fewer hours, employees can stay employed and companies can avoid downsizing.
- Depressurises - flexibility can decrease work pressure at a time when employers are hiring less and their employees are overworked.
- Improves morale - during uncertain economic times, flexibility at work can improve employee morale and increase engagement in the workplace.
- Improving customer service and retention - more committed employees, greater employee retention and a better match between peaks and troughs in workflows and staffing will allow you to more closely meet customers' needs.
- Becoming an employer of choice - which expands the pool of talented workers that an advertisement will attract.
How can managers create and support flexible work cultures?
Clearly, workplace flexibility is more than a change in schedule. It is a way of thinking and working that seeks to help employees make their best contributions and simultaneously manage their personal lives.
Companies that understand the business rationale, engage their employees in identifying innovative solutions, and create tools for managers and individuals will excel in this time of great change. The following are suggestions for helping managers create and support the most effective kind of flexibility.
- Learn about your company’s flexibility policies, programs, and resources, and disseminate information to educate your employees about what is available.
- Develop strong and consistent messaging about flexibility as a work effectiveness tool, communicating your organisation’s support for flexibility.
- Initiate open, honest discussions about workplace flexibility and effectiveness with your team, and empower your employees to suggest alternative ways of working to better address work / life needs.
- Evaluate management practices and challenge unspoken norms that reward “face-time” over results.
- Adapt organisational systems to ensure that performance is measured based on outcomes, not hours.
- Provide adequate organisational supports for managers and employees to work and manage more flexibly.
- Become a champion for working more flexibly and effectively. Demonstrate your commitment to improving work /life quality by role-modeling smart ways to work.
Flexibility is about being creative and staying focused on what’s important. Organisations now have the challenge, and the opportunity to use flexibility as a means to improve outmoded work practices.
By giving managers the necessary knowledge, confidence and skills, they'll help to create a business culture that's supportive of workplace flexibility.
A flexible work environment can be the difference between employees that feel energised, committed, and ready to go into bat for you and those that feel burned out, unsupported, and ready to walk out the door at the first chance they get.