The results are in! 81% of businesses are changing their policies to offer greater workplace flexibility in the U.S. and U.K.
Data shows that offering flexibility in the workplace can no longer be a perk but a requirement. It is critical for companies’ recruitment, satisfaction, and retention strategies.
Employees crave flexibility the most during the holidays. Yet – though employees want more flexible work options during this time of year – 51% feel uneasy asking their managers.
What is flexibility in the workplace?
Workplace flexibility includes where, when, and how employees get their work done. It means providing the right conditions for employees to thrive. Ultimately, flexibility embraces the idea that employees can be productive no matter what way they perform their work.
Companies with successful workplace flexibility acknowledge individual needs and support work-life balance and employee wellness. Also, management trusts employees to perform their work even in a non-traditional structure, providing their team with the necessary resources.
Creating a flexible workplace culture helps employees meet the demands of their personal lives while maintaining high-performance levels at work. This culture may include alternative hours, hybrid work, and an open-minded approach to accomplishing goals.
Ursula Mead, Founder of InHerSight, shares her thoughts, “Workplace flexibility allows employees to lead full lives outside of work.”
Leaders with flexible mindsets consider the unique needs of each employee. They understand that everyone on their team is different. Rather than seeing these differences as a roadblock, they give employees more autonomy in how they want to accomplish their goals.
Flexibility is essential to team management. For example, a single mother with two young kids may require more time remotely, while another employee may need to be in the office to receive more direction on their projects.
Meighan Newhouse, co-founder and CEO of Inspirant Group, claims, “We’re in the midst of a workplace revolution and employees are in the driver’s seat. And that comes with a shift in how leaders need to show up.”
Here are some examples of workplace flexibility for leaders:
- Assess the needs of your team members by talking to them – including asking them how they best receive feedback
- Recognize employees for their hard work in ways that motivates them
- Grant time off for doctors’ appointments and essential functions – especially for parents
- Be more open-minded during the holidays to flexible hours and work models that might not be the “norm”
- Show your team that you value their well-being and work-life balance
Ultimately, employers must create an environment where employees feel comfortable asking for time off. With recent massive layoffs, many workers fear for their job security. Reassure your team members that their job is secure and that asking for time off will not jeopardize them.
Employees can also contribute to flexible workplaces.
Workers can embrace flexible and growth mindsets, adjusting their approach to tasks based on their unique demands. Doing so will aid employees’ career progressions, especially at their current company.
Additional examples of employee flexibility include:
- Volunteering to take on responsibilities of coworkers on PTO
- Help train new employees on skills already mastered
- Find ways to streamline processes and improve efficiency
- Adapt to role changes optimistically by seeing the positives in them
- Quickly shift priorities when an urgent problem arises
- View constructive criticism as a way to improve performance
- Keep up to date on the latest industry trends
Just like employers can support their teams, employees can also help themselves and one another, encouraging workplace flexibility. A break or change in their routine can lead to opportunities to learn new skills, work with different coworkers, and remain agile in an ever-changing environment.
Flexible work schedules
Supporting different work schedules is also a huge part of workplace flexibility, especially during the holiday season! Offering various work arrangements helps your employees’ diverse needs.
Flextime allows employees to arrive and leave work at the most convenient time for them – if their work is completed successfully and on time.
Flexible location – also referred to as hybrid work – agrees that employees can work between the office, home, or a coworking space. Some companies have specific guidelines, but that may change during the holidays. For example, a company that usually wants employees in the office three days a week may change that to one or two days.
A compressed workweek is a growing trend that moves away from a standard five-day workweek, where each is 8 hours long. Instead, employers may support employees working four 10-hour days so that they can take an extra day off that week. How work is compressed may vary depending on the employer. This work option is most prevalent toward the end of the year.
Qwick, a hospitality-staffing platform, is an example of a company that switched to a four-day workweek. One employee commented on the shift, “It’s been life-changing for me. It is helping me achieve a better work-life balance and also meet important goals in my personal life.”
Reduced work schedules allow employees to work less than the typical 40-hour workweek. If the employee can finish their work in less time, they can have additional hours to go to appointments or spend with their loved ones.
Companies that haven’t incorporated flexible work arrangements should begin to do so – especially when targeting parents in today’s job market. It gives them the room to show up for their children more than they could otherwise.
Benefits of workplace flexibility
The benefits of workplace flexibility are immense for all parties involved. For the company, it provides a recruiting and retention edge. As for the employees, flexible work arrangements provide a healthier work-life balance while boosting employee job satisfaction.
Angela Nibbs, the founder of Maven Communications, comments on the advantage of flexibility, “What we hear time and again from our team is that they value flexibility— to work where they want, to take time off when they need it, or to compress their schedules. As a result, our team feels like a trusted and valued part of the team. As a result, productivity and morale remain high, and our clients are well-served and happy.”
Some additional benefits of a flexible work environment include:
- Increased engagement and productivity
- Improved business continuity
- Attraction and retention of top talent
- Effective utilization of office space
- Reduced commute times and traffic congestion
- Strengthened commitment to sustainability
- Supported work-life effectiveness
- Better commitment to employee well-being
- Promoted diversity and inclusion
Of all the perks a company can offer, flexibility at work is the most rewarding. 63% of employees agree and claim flexibility makes them feel the most empowered.
Workplace flexibility is here to stay
A flexible workplace is key to a successful holiday season and an effective work environment all year round. As we move toward 2023, think about how you can offer more flexible work options to your employees. The new year is a great time to reflect on what you’ve been doing well and what needs improvement.
It’s no secret that the pandemic forced employers to be more flexible with employees. And as a result, it shined a spotlight on less flexible toxic working conditions. While some companies decided to return to their old routines, you must remain flexible. Stay away from the ghost of workplace past. Workplace flexibility is the present and the future.