The Importance of Flexibility in Employees’ Work Lives
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 10-25-2019 04:09 PM
Synopsis: Smart employers are allowing employees to balance their work and personal lives with more flexibility. Ultimately it has proven to increase productivity and attract talented workers.
Compared to ten or even fifteen years ago, we have experienced a significant paradigm shift in the way that we work. Employees across all sectors and industries feel like they are always “on the clock,” whether that is due to the pressure of quickly responding to emails or employees taking more than one job to pay their bills. And even within the office, some employers have stringent “face-time” requirements—even if they aren’t explicitly written down in an employee handbook or on the company intranet.
Ultimately, there is a better way. We are living in a time where technology and working trends allow for more work flexibility than years past. On top of all of this, employees themselves increasingly desire more flexibility in their work lives. CEOs and managers, no matter the size of their organizations, should be amenable to these flexibility requests. Doing so will not only increase employee morale, but may increase productivity within your organization.
Why Flexibility is So Important
While it may be self-evident, it is important to outline why flexibility is so important in the minds of employees. One of the most critical reasons is that flexibility lets modern employees better balance the needs of their personal lives with their workplace responsibilities. As our world becomes busier and more complex, employees have more responsibilities outside of their day jobs. Family needs are certainly one of those responsibilities, but they may also include other personal obligations.
Employees simply aren’t monoliths that don’t have other responsibilities, interests, or hobbies outside of work. They are real people and are trying to balance their obligations—whether managers recognize it or not. Workplace flexibility confronts this situation head-on. It shows that the company recognizes employees’ lives outside of work. It also allows employees to complete their work when they feel most fresh. Instead of having employees “go through the motions” until the clock strikes 5:00, employees can be fully engaged, leading to better work in the long run.
Employee flexibility also helps your employees save money. Having a work from home policy, for instance, allows your employees to save money on commuting costs. If your employees have children, they can lower external childcare hours and costs, which can be quite a sum in the long run. It goes without saying, but helping your employees trim some of these costs can boost employee morale. But even beyond that, your company will start developing a positive reputation. It will be known as a family-friendly organization that recognizes its employees’ obligations outside of work.
Finally, by embracing employee flexibility, companies are able to keep their organizations competitive. We are living in an era of remote work. Advancements in technology have made it easier for companies and organizations to collaborate over the internet. Using technologies like Zoom or Skype, companies can hold real-time, face-to-face meetings—regardless of where attendees are located. Tools like Google Docs allow employees to simultaneously collaborate on important documents. Slack makes remote employees more productive. The list goes on and on. And even better, we are still in the early innings of these tools, meaning that remote workers are going to be even more productive.
Ultimately, all of this means that your current and prospective employees are increasingly expecting flexible work arrangements. If your organization does not offer employee flexibility, it will become more difficult to retain your current employees and recruit new employees. In all likelihood, your competitors are offering flexible work arrangements. Because of this, there is a chance that your rock-star employee may be contemplating a move to better handle her obligations outside of work. By contrast, if your organization is known for having an extensive workplace flexibility program, you may find it easier to recruit new, stellar employees.
A Compelling Option
An employee flexibility program can be a terrific option for both employees and employers. Employees are able to complete their work on their own terms. There is no need to “appear busy” or to complete busywork before the workday is over. Instead, your employees can complete their work when they feel energized, leaving them time to focus on their out-of-work responsibilities. For employers, employee flexibility increases morale, productivity, and the firm’s reputation in the sector.
Whether or not you already have a workplace flexibility program, it is definitely something worth considering.