Why Companies Need to Consider Flexible Work Models
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We’ve known for a long time that employees have been asking for more work-life balance and career flexibility, and COVID-19 forced organizations to adapt quickly to remote work options, even before they were ready for it technologically.
But many employers are struggling with how to offer more flexibility while trying to focus on aggressive business growth, and if a flexible work model would even work in their organization. What’s the best way to manage flex employees and ensure their success? Is it fair that only a selected group of employees have flexibility, while others don’t? These are valid questions.
WHAT ARE FLEXIBLE WORK MODELS, AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Flexible work models are not just about working from home, but rather giving your employees more autonomy to control their own schedules and how they incorporate flexibility into their work life. According to a Bloomberg study, giving your employees more control over their work schedules reduces burnout, stress, and results in higher job satisfaction. There are various types of flexible work models that can be adapted in varying ways; including:
Flextime allows your employees to choose what time they start and finish their workday, outside the traditional 9 to 5. It also includes shift work, compressed workweeks, and unlimited vacation policies. Offering flextime can feel like a significant compromise, but the long and even short-term gains are worth it. Evidence suggests that companies see improved productivity, better staff retention rates, and flextime policies are also a competitive advantage for attracting new talent.
TELECOMMUTING (OR TELEWORK)
Telework is for employees who work remotely outside the office using company-owned technology. Historically, telecommuting is an optimal arrangement for employees who require more independence and less face time. Companies can provide their own technology to accommodate a telecommuter who can work full time from home or split their time between home and the office. Telework also opens opportunities to onboard new staff from anywhere around the globe.
With the advancement in technology, the physical workplace has become less required, and many businesses operate with no physical office at all.
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR FLEXIBLE TEAM IS THRIVING
Flexible work models are only successful if employees can achieve their daily goals, maintain project timelines and get their work done. The purpose of flex work is to recognize and accommodate the complexities of various lifestyles. For example, parents or caregivers benefit tremendously from a more flexible work arrangement, allotting for more balance between at-home duties and their careers. Assuring your employees that every aspect of their lives is a priority gives them the power to manage their time better and get their work done without the added stress of clocking in or commuting through traffic when it’s most inconvenient.
A survey conducted by the Government of Canada indicated that 71% of employees would request a flexible work arrangement if their company posed the question. Workers want flexibility, so ask your employees directly. Do they want a more flexible work arrangement where they split their time between the office and home? Is it beneficial for them to start and end their workday a little later? Asking your team for input will ensure you apply the right model to meet your team’s needs.
For flexible models, it’s essential to adapt your management style. Communication becomes even more critical when assigning tasks and projects, meeting deadlines, and holding employees accountable. Other considerations include incorporating tools that can effectively measure performance and providing the right technologies to give employees the freedom to work from anywhere efficiently. Remember, one size does not fit all. Experiment with different flex work models to see which best suit your team.
If your organization is in the process of reviewing flexible work strategies while your employees work from home, consider downloading one (or all) of our three free resource guides: Virtual Onboarding, Managing Virtual Teams, and Virtual Training. These guides will help you prepare to implement and support virtual work arrangements.
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