Workplace flexibility is something you should consider adopting in your workplace. This is because it has multiple advantages which you can key into so as to ensure that your business and your employees grow. I have had the opportunity to work under different circumstances and arrangements and I can tell you that having a flexible workplace is one of the best arrangements in my experience. And to convince you, I will be telling you about workplace flexibility in this article including the many advantages it offers you.
What exactly is workplace flexibility? Workplace flexibility is a working arrangement whereby there is flexibility for an employee as to where he/she wants to work, the time he/she will work, and how he/she will work. Workplace flexibility benefits both the employees and employers; it gives employees a chance to attain a work/life balance which will allow them give more to the organization such that they will be more productive.
This is not hard to believe, imagine being able to decide that you want to work from home, a café or the office. Imagine being able to decide the time you want to work whether morning, afternoon or night. Imagine being able to decide the method and technique by which you will accomplish a certain task. All these will only lead to being able to work more effectively which will lead to more productivity.
Having a flexible workplace ensures that employees can adjust their work schedule as they see fit in order to meet their needs such that they will be able to lead a better life.
There are two different types of workplace flexibility;
Formal workplace flexibility policies: formal workplace flexibility policies are those workplace flexibility policies that are officially sanctioned as human resource policies. These policies guide and direct how workplace flexibility is done in a particular workplace.
Informal workplace flexibility policies: these refers to those policies that are not official and are only given on a discretionary basis probably by a supervisor or someone higher up the hierarchy.
With the advent of technology which has helped developed efficient and effective means of communication, being confined in one particular location to work has become irrelevant. This is because people in different countries and on different continents can communicate and collaborate as effectively as those within the same environment.
While there will be certain things that require physical presence to accomplish in the office, it is no longer a prerequisite to getting work done. Managers and leaders the world over are recognizing this and are thus transitioning from the traditional way of working to this new and modern way.
The following are flexible working arrangements you can adopt in your workplace;
Work from Home Option
As already mentioned, workplace flexibility involves employees being able to decide where they want to work from, the time they want to work as well as the means by which they will work. By this criteria, allowing your employees to work from home is definitely something that falls firmly within this frame. Negotiations should be made as to the number of days per week when they can work from home or even if it can be done full time. This is not only advantageous to the employee but also to the employer. For the employee, there will be convenience and comfortability while the employer will save on real estate cost among other things. By allowing employees to work from home, they will be able to decide when to work. This will in turn lead to a surge in productivity as well as employee satisfaction.
Another thing you should considering implementing in your workplace to allow for more flexibility is autonomy. This is not to say that employees are not answerable for their actions, it only means that they have a degree of independence and control over how they go about accomplishing their daily tasks. Micromanaging employees will only lead to dissatisfaction which will in turn lead to a drop in their productivity. As such, cut your employees some slack, trust them to handle themselves and give them the opportunity to either prove you right or wrong. Not being in control of how you work and when you work can lead to frustration and deep seated resentment on the part of the employee which is not good for their health whether mental or physical. Micromanaging doesn’t even inspire confidence as it paints the picture that the employee is not capable of getting things done without direction. More often than not, you will see a boost in productivity when you give them independence and free rein on how to do their work.
Option of Working Arrangement
While some employees can choose to work from a location outside of a particular organization’s workplace, some employees cannot due to the nature of their work. Others simply will not due to other reasons. This, however, doesn’t mean that things can’t be done to provide flexibility for them within that particular environment.
For instance, allowing employees to personalize their workspaces is workplace flexibility in itself. This will give them more control over how they work and this will result in them being more productive. Allowing employees to personalize and make decisions about their workspace has been proven to increase employee productivity.
You can also provide the following options for your employee as a means of making your workplace flexible;
Allow employees to own memorabilia: allowing employees to own belongings and customize their workspace with it has been proven quite efficient in boosting employee productivity. It can be something as simple as a family photo or even a potted plant.
Adjustable furniture: sitting down to work has been proven quite detrimental to health although standing throughout working hours might be a little overwhelming for some. A solution to this is to provide your employees with adjustable furniture such as adjustable standing desks. This will allow them to work in whichever way they feel is more comfortable and as such allow them to be more productive.
Open workplaces: another way to make your workplace flexible is to have open workspaces. This involves having different places within the same workplace where employees can get things done. For example, you can set aside locations within the workplace where employees can go to have peace and quiet maybe to work on a job or just to relax. You should also provide communal spaces within the workplace environment where employees can interact and exchange ideas. This will do wonders for them in terms of giving them choices as to how they want to work.
Advantages of Workplace Flexibility
The following are some of the biggest advantages workplace flexibility provides both employers and employees;
Advantages for Employees:
- – A flexible workplace gives employees the opportunity to sort out personal issues,
- – Allow employees to work at a time they feel they will most productive,
- – Eliminates negative pressure which can result in burnout,
- – Autonomy and independence,
- – Save cost,
- – Eliminates the stress of rush hour
A flexible workplace gives employees the opportunity to sort out personal issues: having a flexible workplace gives employees the opportunity to meet their family needs (such as attend a child’s Talent Show to provide support), accomplish personal goals (such as health and fitness goals or even personal development goals), handle responsibilities and so on. This will result in employees living a better quality of life which will translate to an increase in productivity.
Allow employees to work at a time they feel they will most productive: some people work better at night while some are more effective during the day. Workplace flexibility provides employees with an opportunity to choose when they feel is the best time to work and this will certainly lead to an increase in productivity as they will be more efficient and effective at a time of their choosing than one that is forced on them.
Eliminates negative pressure which can result in burnout: workplace flexibility means that employees can choose when to work. This means that when they feel they are at risk of burning out, all they have to do is take a rest and resume when they feel up to it.
Autonomy and independence: workplace flexibility puts control and authority in the hands of the employee. This means that the employee can determine his/her work schedule among other things. Being in control like this is certain to boost employee morale which will result in them being more focused and dedicated to their work and as such, enable them to be more productive.
Save cost: workplace flexibility also allows employees to save money and spend less. This is because when they have the option to work from home, they won’t have the need to spend money on commuting to work. This will help them save money which is certain to make them happy and productive.
Eliminates the stress of rush hour: one other advantage of workplace flexibility is avoidance of rush hour and traffic which can be very tasking on health. An employee that can decide when he/she wants to work can go to work at a time when traffic would have reduced. This will help avoid the stress that comes with being stuck in traffic.
Advantages of Workplace Flexibility for Employers
Workplace flexibility also provides many advantages for employers. Some of these advantages are listed below:
- – An increase in employee morale
- – Increase employee attendance
- – Help create a good public image
- – Longer working periods
- – Higher chance of hiring and retaining top talents
- – A higher chance of getting things done
- – Save cost
An increase in employee morale: workplace flexibility will result in employees having increased morale and as such, more zeal to work and accomplish their given tasks. It will also help boost and increase employee engagement as well as their commitment to the organization where they work.
Increase employee attendance: another advantage of workplace flexibility for employers is an increase in the number of employees that show up to work as well as a reduction in tardiness. This increase in attendance is certain to result in increased productivity for the organization.
Help create a good public image: employers that enable their employees determine when, how and where they want to work will definitely be viewed as employee friendly employers. This will help establish your organization as an ideal place to work and as such, top talents will be attracted to work there. Also, there will be a reduced turnover rate of valued employers as the simple opportunity to determine how they work will bolster their feeling of being valued and trusted.
Longer working periods: workplace flexibility will also enable certain departments within the organization to work for a wider range of time. An example is the customer service department which will have the opportunity to be on call at all times of the day, and night based on when they feel is best for them to work.
Higher chance of hiring and retaining top talents: workplace flexibility is certain to increase the chances for an organization to hire and retain top talents to work for them. As already mentioned, providing employees with a chance to choose how, when, and where they want to work will put them in charge of their schedules which will bolster their confidence and will make them feel valued. This will, in turn, lead to employees wanting to stay with the organization and new ones wanting to work for the organization.
A higher chance of getting things done: when employees can work from anywhere they want, at any time they feel like and however they want, you can be certain that more work will be done. This is because employees will carry their work around with them, they can even aggregate several small hours over the course of a day in order to get a task accomplished. Apart from this, being able to telecommute and work from somewhere outside of a traditional work environment can be very helpful in terms of providing inspiration especially for creatives.
Save cost: office real estate doesn’t come cheap and allowing your employees to work from anywhere they choose will help you save money on rent.
Workplace flexibility offers several advantages for both employers and employees. It leads to employees leading a better quality of life and being more productive such that their organizations can progress.
Why use a flexible workplace?
Using a flexible workplace arrangement over the traditional and rigid arrangement offers many advantages such as a boost in employee morale, an increase in employee engagement, efficiency and productivity, a decrement in employee absenteeism among others. Workplace flexibility has been proven to lead to employees being more committed and loyal to their organization.
Can a supervisor or superior cancel a workplace flexibility arrangement?
Yes, a supervisor can terminate an agreement depending on several reasons such as performance concerns, changes in an organization’s leadership hierarchy, employee changes and so on. In a scenario where the flexible workplace agreement was done formally, the supervisor would have to provide a notice to the employee at least two weeks in advance.
Will requesting for a flexible work arrangement negatively affect my chances of advancing through the ranks?
No, it will not. Having a flexible work arrangement doesn’t mean that you are exempt from your duties as you will be held to the same standards those in the workplace are held to. So, as long as you do what is expected of you, you will get your promotion if you are due for it.
What is workplace adaptability?
Adaptability refers to the ability a certain employee possesses which allows him/her to adjust and adapt to a new working environment.