Updated October 2022
Companies across the US and around the world have been seeking for years to entice top talent. In the wake of the Great Resignation, attracting talent and engaging and empowering existing employees is even more pressing. As technology advances, the variety of shapes these enticements take differ as much as employee personalities do, leading human resource groups to offer a multitude of benefits not seen before.
Between flex time, the rise of hybrid and remote work, job or desk sharing, and allowing employees to set their schedules, flexible work options can be attractive to both you and your employees.
Flexibility – Working to Live Versus Living to Work
Employees are increasingly interested in better work-life balance, whether that’s to attend their children’s kickboxing classes or have a leisurely morning workout with a post-rush hour commute. Flexibility to choose how, when, and where they work can give your workforce more control. Some people have their best hours of efficiency in the early morning, and for others, the early evening is their sweet spot. By catering to more flexible scheduling, you’re recognizing that your workforce isn’t a carbon copy, and in providing the opportunity to manage their day a little more on their terms, you’re empowering them to know what suits their work best.
When employees have more control over their daily schedules they are more focused and timely with their work.
When employees have more control over their daily schedules they are more focused and timely with their work. Additionally, the quality of their work improves. This increases their sense of professional purpose, which contributes to greater job satisfaction, which funnels into their focus and productivity for a positive feedback loop.
How the Organization Benefits
By allowing flexible work schedules, your business also gains a longer workday. Your customers can enjoy greater access to customer service without much impact on your bottom line. Eliminating worries of overtime pay while still covering a wider range of hours is an attractive incentive to being flexible when one worker prefers a 7:00-4:00 schedule and another prefers a 10:00-7:00 workday. You get 12 hours of coverage without risking burning out valuable employee resources.
Job sharing is another way to provide flexible work schedules. Employees who prefer to work part-time can cover the duties of a position while still maintaining their schedule on their terms. This can be ideal for students. Many have classes that take up one half of the day but have the other half available for work. This can give them a chance to gain experience with your company while you get the benefit of two minds bringing innovative ideas and problem solving for the same position.
If environmental impact is something you are conscious of, allowing your employees to work remotely can save in a multitude of environmentally friendly ways. According to Earth.org, when remote work began at the start of the pandemic, Green House Gas emissions fell by 25% during morning commutes and 34% during evening commutes.
Xerox’s Virtual Office Program allowed over 8,000 employees to work from home. They estimate savings of nearly 5 million gallons of fuel, preventing 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and eliminating 99 million miles driven between work and home. That’s a single company. The impact that our shift to hybrid and remote work will have on the environment will continue to grow.
Managing Remote and Hybrid Teams
Of course, every upside has a downside. There’s a level of technological investment in insuring smooth transitions. And with a large number of remote and hybrid employees, that’s something many companies simply can’t afford. Smaller employers may also not have the management capacity to oversee a multitude of varying schedules. Juggling the hours of a few employees may not be so daunting. For a larger company with hundreds if not thousands of workers, these flexible schedules could create more headaches and lost productivity than they’re worth.
The impact that our shift to hybrid and remote work will have on the environment will continue to grow
In addition, the lack of face time with employees is beginning to have an impact on community and company culture. Immersion in a busy office helps your staff keep their fingers on the pulse of the company and its efforts. And the same isolation that helps eliminate distraction for remote employees can also hurt the team member mentality. This can be reduced with hybrid schedules, but only if coordinated to ensure the right people are in place. For example, scheduling meetings can be nightmarish if all the innovative minds have to be tracked down. Many employees are pushing to continue to work remotely, but perhaps flex time or compressed workweeks might be better options.
The Loss of Collaboration
Those spontaneous conversations that bring new insights to the work your employees are doing also suffer. Nothing beats a face-to-face collaboration when the creative juices are flowing, and if a chunk of your workforce is missing from your hallways and offices, those conversations simply don’t take place as frequently. We know that video conferencing and advancements in virtual and augmented reality in the workplace can alleviate some of this, but again, those conferences have to be scheduled with a geographically disconnected workforce. And as any creative person can tell you, you can’t always schedule inspiration.
Then there’s the matter of disengaged employees, or “quiet quitters”, as they are now being called. The last thing you want is to have an employee parked on their couch in the midst of a Netflix marathon when they’re supposed to be concentrating on a project critical for your customers. Without direct managerial oversight, how can you be sure you’re getting their best work?
The modern workforce is changing more rapidly than ever.
A certain level of scrutiny of a remote worker’s productivity is sometimes necessary. Tools are available to measure their performance and provide reassurance they’re doing what they say they are. Tracking down how your remote team spends their time can make you feel like a babysitter. And worse, employees feel as though they’re being micro-managed. That good, productive, happy feeling you were trying to foster by having a flex work policy? It can quickly dissipate and cause hard feelings. Often, this leads to higher turnover and larger recruitment costs. Not to mention the portion of your management team’s day spent wrangling proof of productivity.
The modern workforce is changing more rapidly than ever. Keeping employees happy in an environment in which they thrive is vital to successful and innovative businesses. And building solid relationships among your workers and with your clients is more important than ever. Recognizing all the ways in which your employees can thrive with more flexible work arrangements shows you have their ideal working conditions in mind. Your people are your strongest asset. Giving them outside-the-office opportunities is one way to empower them to be happier, more engaged, and more satisfied professionals.
For flexible office furniture solutions, contact StrongProject.