Companies in the US and around the world have been looking for top talent for years. In the wake of the Great Resignation, attracting talent and involving and strengthening existing employees is even more urgent. As technology advances, the variety of forms these enticements take varies as much as employee personalities, allowing HR groups to offer a multitude of benefits not seen before.
Between flexible working hours, the rise of hybrid and remote working, job or desk sharing, and allowing employees to set their schedules, flexible work options can appeal to both you and your employees.
Flexibility – Work to live vs live to work
Workers are increasingly interested in a better work-life balance, whether that’s attending their kids’ kickboxing classes or having a leisurely morning workout with a post-rush 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 scheduling more flexibly, you recognize that your staff is not a copy, and by giving them the ability to manage their day a little more on their terms, you empower them to know what works best for their job.
When employees have more control over their daily schedules, they are more focused and on time with their work.
When employees have more control over their daily schedules, they are more focused and on time with their work. In addition, the quality of their work improves. This increases their sense of professional purpose, which contributes to greater job satisfaction, leading to their focus and productivity for a positive feedback loop.
How the organization benefits
By allowing flexible work schedules, your business also gets a longer work day. Your customers can enjoy better access to customer service without much impact on your bottom line. Eliminating worries about paying overtime while still covering a wider range of hours is an attractive incentive to be flexible when one employee prefers a 7:00-4:00 AM schedule and prefers another on a working day from 10:00 AM – 7:00 AM. You get 12 hours of coverage without the risk of burning valuable employee resources.
Job sharing is another way to provide flexible work schedules. Employees who prefer to work part-time can take over the duties of a position and still keep their schedule on their terms. This can be ideal for students. Many have classes that take up half the day but have the other half available for work. This can give them a chance to gain experience with your company while giving you the benefit of two minds bringing innovative ideas and problem solving to the same position.
Being aware of the impact on the environment allows you to let your employees work remotely in a variety of environmentally friendly ways. According to Earth.org, when remote work began at the start of the pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions fell by 25% during the morning commute and 34% during the evening commute.
Xerox’s Virtual Office Program enables more than 8,000 employees to work from home. They estimate saving nearly 5 million gallons of fuel, avoiding 43,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and eliminating 99 million miles driven between work and home. That’s one company. The environmental impact of our shift to hybrid and remote working will continue to grow.
Manage remote and hybrid teams
Of course, every advantage has a downside. There is a level of technological investment to ensure 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 wide variety of schedules. Juggling the hours of a few employees may not be so daunting. For a larger company with hundreds, if not thousands, of employees, these flexible schedules can cause more headaches and lost productivity than they’re worth.
The environmental impact of our shift to hybrid and remote working will continue to grow
In addition, the lack of facetime with employees is beginning to have an impact on community and corporate culture . Immersion in a busy office helps your employees keep their finger on the pulse of the company and its efforts. And the same isolation that helps eliminate distractions for remote workers can also hurt team members’ mindsets. This can be reduced with hybrid schemes, but only if they are coordinated to ensure the right people are in attendance. For example, scheduling meetings can be a nightmare when all the innovative minds have to be tracked down. Many employees insist on continuing to work remotely, but flexible working hours or compressed work weeks may be better options.
The loss of cooperation
Those spontaneous conversations that bring new insights into the work of your employees also suffer. There’s nothing like a personal collaboration when the creative juices are flowing, and if some of your staff is missing from your hallways and offices, those conversations just don’t happen as often. We know that video conferencing and improvements in virtual and augmented reality in the workplace can alleviate some of this, but again, those conferences should be scheduled with a geographically disconnected workforce. And as any creative person can tell you, you can’t always plan for inspiration.
Then there is the issue of laid-off workers, or ‘silent quitters’, as they are now called. The last thing you want is an employee parked on the couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon when he should be focusing on a project that is critical to your customers. How can you be sure to get their best work without direct managerial oversight?
The modern workforce is changing faster than ever.
A degree of control over a teleworker’s productivity is sometimes necessary. Tools are available to measure their performance and provide reassurance that they are doing what they say they are. Considering how your remote team spends their time can make you feel like a nanny. And worse, employees feel like they’re being micro-managed. That good, productive, happy feeling you were trying to cultivate by adopting a flexible working policy? It can disappear quickly and cause hard feelings. This often leads to higher turnover and higher recruitment costs. Not to mention the part of the day your management team spends arguing over proof of productivity.
The modern workforce is changing faster than ever. It is vital for successful and innovative companies to keep employees happy in an environment where they thrive. And building solid relationships between your employees and with your customers is more important than ever. By recognizing all the ways your employees can thrive with more flexible work arrangements, you show that you have their ideal working conditions in mind. Your people are your strongest asset. Giving them opportunities outside of the office is one way to empower them to be happier, more engaged, and more satisfied professionals.