A flexible workplace is exactly what it sounds like: an employer that considers the needs of employees outside of his or her job. This might mean the ability to work from home, adjust schedules as needed, or even working part-time. The correlation between workplace flexibility and job satisfaction says a lot about what is important to workers.
Does workplace flexibility play a role in job satisfaction? Studies show that working in a flexible environment is paramount to job satisfaction. Employees that are satisfied with their job are more productive and more likely to stick around for the long run.
Evidence will show that job satisfaction and flexibility are linked with productivity. Employers have a real opportunity for improvement if they look to becoming more flexible as an option. However, flexibility alone is unable to achieve complete job satisfaction. Discovering the perfect mix of workplace qualities is sure to lead to better flexibility and ultimately, a better sense of job satisfaction.
Determining Job Satisfaction with a Flexible Employer
In order to comprehend the impact workplace flexibility has on job satisfaction, it is best to start with how said satisfaction is measured. It means nothing if an employee’s happiness with their work is only speculation. However, there are a few ways employers can better understand the desires of their employees.
One of the best ways to determine job satisfaction is to offer anonymous employee surveys. An anonymous questionnaire is more likely to have honest feedback because there is no fear of repercussions. Like with any anonymous interaction, there will possibly be a few who fail to take it seriously, but those are typically easy to weed out. (We have written a related article – Are Employee Engagement Surveys Really Confidential? )
Having a suggestion box can be an open ended way to gauge how happy workers are with their jobs. Some might add their name to it, some might not. Suggestions can give employers an idea of whether or not job satisfaction is where it should be, but it is not always as clear as direct questions.
It is also a good idea to simply ask the opinions of employees without beating around the bush or creating a disconnect. A one on one conversation between management and lower level employees can be incredibly eye opening. Not only can employees talk about what they think, but managers should be able to get a read on things from body language alone.
A one on one meeting can be effective, but focus groups offer a different kind of learning opportunity. While many people associate focus groups with marketing new products or determining customer opinions on ads, it is possible to use an internal focus group to understand how employees feel as a whole. It will serve to identify any potential problems and also help to find solutions. An employee focus group also helps the workers to feel heard.
Knowing that these methods gather evidence of job satisfaction, it becomes clear that studies have included employee opinions in questioning the success of flexibility. In fact, one study claims that the availability of flexible work made workers 48 percent more inclined to rate their level of satisfaction highly. That is a huge boost to job satisfaction, but what kind of impact does that make on the job itself?
Workplace flexibility has a big effect on productivity. Not only does overall happiness shine through an employee’s work, but a more flexible schedule means that he or she can work at their own most productive hours. While some people get most work done in the morning, other people do their best work in the evenings. Where a standard 9 to 5 workday expects all people to be productive within the same time frame, a flexible workplace allows employees to work when the work will be completed more efficiently. (We have written a related article – What Are The Attributes of Workplace Flexibility? (Employee and Workplace))
Along with increased happiness and getting more done at work, employees with flexibility in their jobs also tend to work longer hours. This is likely because workers feel accomplished in getting so many tasks completed in their productive hours, they want to keep going.
When more work is completed because of the fewer sick days needed when employees have flexibility. Since many sick days are taken as a result of employees’ kids’ illnesses, the ability to work from home or make up missed hours at a later time increases productivity. The efficiency gained with a few simple changes can cause a lot of positive impacts on the business.
Efficiency and productivity go hand in hand. Allowing employees to work at their most efficient times will boost productivity. Since an increase in productivity would inspire any employer to work on improving job satisfaction, it can help to understand how workplaces are incorporating a more flexible business model is possible.
How to be More Flexible
There are a variety of ways a company can make the workplace more flexible. To some, it may be surprising that it goes far beyond schedule changes or working from home. In fact, there are a lot of simple changes that can be made to make the workplace more flexible for employees.
A personal office space allows employees to feel as though the area is their own. With that ownership comes power and control of the space. For example, a sit-to-stand desk allows the employee the flexibility to choose if they’d like to sit or stand. Photographs of loved ones or a personal touch boosts motivation. Although it seems like a small change to an office space, personalization increases productivity and job satisfaction all in one go.
Build a relationship of trust with employees so that they can work from home. While working from home is no longer a new concept, many employers are hesitant to offer this flexibility because no one wants to pay an employee to couch surf. There are a number of ways to check in on work progress, but ultimately trust is a great start. An extension of trust helps to build job satisfaction as well, as employees find themselves much happier without being micromanaged.
Allow company employees to set their own working hours. Although it is obvious that some professions would not allow for this type of flexibility, many standard office jobs should have no problem with this allowance. With the exception of group meetings, there is rarely a reason that an employee can’t work from noon to 8, rather than 9 to 5. If he or she works better later in the day, the company would have nothing to lose by allowing it.
Offering part-time employment to workers is a big way that employers can have some flexibility in the business. Not only is it good for employees looking to work just a few days a week, but it is also good for the company. A part-time employee generally does not reach overtime hours, doesn’t have company-paid insurance, and works hard at getting more done in a shorter time frame. Simultaneously, part-time employees work a more flexible schedule per their own availability, often enjoys their job, and gets the time needed at home. It is a win-win for all.
Another aspect of flexibility in the workplace is hiring freelancers. There are so many advantages to freelancers – from the talent pool to the savings when it comes to benefits. It can also be helpful to choose how to pay, whereas regular employees are paid a salary or by the hour, many freelancers are paid by the project. (We have written a related article – Freelancers and The Future of Work)
With the variety of options available in becoming more flexible as an employer, it should be relatively simple to choose a mix that works for any business. The more flexible a workplace is, the more job satisfaction will increase. With better job satisfaction comes long term employees,which in turn means less investing into employees that don’t work out. If job satisfaction (and productivity) is important to the company, developing the right mix of workplace flexibility options is crucial.
Other Factors of Job Satisfaction
While workplace flexibility plays a huge role in an employee’s job satisfaction, there are several other factors that should be taken into consideration. These factors include paid wages, recognition, positive impact, and a job that you want to do or are good at.
Perhaps one of the largest aspects of job satisfaction is pay. Most people want to make more money, but all people want to make the salary that he or she deserves to make. Fair pay is not always present in the world of business. Working a job that fails to meet this standard often leads to a lower job satisfaction score. On the opposite side of things, a position that pays well has the ability to boost satisfaction.
Another boost to job satisfaction is the recognition of a job well done. While this doesn’t mean that the employee requires a plaque every time he or she does something good, it does mean that they appreciate the feeling of praise. A compliment on the work completed or a public appraisal of the employee’s work often works wonders on job satisfaction.
Working a job that makes a positive impact on an individual or the world makes a positive impact on job satisfaction. Most people want to do some kind of work that helps someone in some way. This might be something small, like helping a customer find the perfect outfit for a big event, or something larger like running a charity organization. Helping people is a widespread desire that takes many forms and always increases satisfaction. (We have written a related article – The Best Place to Work)
An aspect of job satisfaction that companies are typically unable to change is the employee doing a job that he or she enjoys. Just as a skydiving instructor might get bored sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, an employee is likely to be unsatisfied if their job bores them. There is a job out there for all personality types, but few companies have the ability to place a current employee in a different job that would work better for them. Sometimes it is best for the employee to seek a career that is better for them.
An employee should also have a job that he or she is good at. While an employer can offer additional training and try to make an employee better at their job, it is not always possible. The last aspect of job satisfaction is that the worker should be in a position that he or she is good at. If you aren’t good at your job, it is likely to cause a lot of stress.
Creating a workplace that offers top notch job satisfaction requires a lot of thought and effort. Employees should be paid fairly and recognized for their good work. It should be a job that helps someone in any number of ways. Finally, a workplace that offers high levels of job satisfaction should ensure that the potential employee would both enjoy and be good at the position they interview for. A business looking to improve job satisfaction should desire more than just a body to do the work. A workspace that accomplishes all of this, in addition to workplace flexibility, is an environment that has happy employees.
Workplace Flexibility and Job Satisfaction
Evidence proves that job satisfaction is heavily influenced by workplace flexibility. Measuring the satisfaction of a company’s workers starts with listening to the opinions of the employees. While improving job satisfaction should be important to employers, incentive to improve it is found in the increase in productivity that comes with a higher job satisfaction score.
In reaching for a better productivity goal, employers can focus on a few points to increase job satisfaction, and therefore, flexibility. Flexibility can be found in office freedom, scheduling, working from home, part-time employment, and the use of freelancers. The appropriate balance of these aspects will improve job satisfaction levels for most companies.
If job satisfaction improvement is a goal your business is reaching for, there are a few items worth focusing on. Those include fair pay and publicized appreciation, helping others, and working at a job that the employee is good at and enjoys. Attempting to touch upon each of these factors is necessary for improved job satisfaction.
To conclude, workplace flexibility and job satisfaction are two components that are necessary for the best productivity levels. Making strides to improve both aspects are sure to display clear changes in employee attitudes and happiness, as well. In order to have an improvement in productivity, it is recommended to work at both flexibility and job satisfaction.
What are some of the biggest job satisfaction killers? Poor pay, zero recognition, and having no idea what is going on seem to be some of the biggest job satisfaction killers around.
Why is workplace flexibility suddenly important? While it is not as sudden as it might appear, flexibility is usually needed for people with children. Since more and more moms are being required to (or desire to) work, there is a bigger need for parents to have more freedom with work.
How do you determine if your pay is fair? In addition to experience and education, pay should be based on location and the job itself. Determining what you deserve can be calculated with any number of online wage calculators.