The workforce is changing and people are increasingly seeking more flexibility in their jobs. With advances in technology, it is now feasible for a large portion of the workforce to complete projects and maintain productivity away from the office. Does your company offer flexible working options? If not, you may be at risk of losing your top talent.
The definition of flexwork is broad and can encompass any arrangement that falls outside of the typical 9-to-5 office arrangement. This can include non-traditional scheduling, part-time work, shared jobs, remote work, or any other deviation from a traditional work environment.
For a variety of reasons, many people are prioritizing flexibility when seeking employment opportunities. A recent study by International Workplace Group (IWG) shows that flexwork is quickly transforming from being just a trend or a company perk to the future of work as we know it. In fact, 80% of people surveyed said that when faced with two similar employment offers, they would choose the one that offered more flexibility. With the growing popularity of flexwork, employers should consider the benefits of such arrangements, and the risks posed by not adapting.
In a 2019 study by FlexJobs, 69% of respondents considered flexible work to be among the most important factors to consider when they are searching for a job. This is a far greater percentage than those who chose meaningful work (55%), company reputation (41%), or even health insurance (39%) as most important. So, if your company is not yet offering flexible working arrangements, you are falling out of step with the needs and preferences of the workforce.
Employers Also Benefit from Flexibility
Reduced costs, increased productivity, a more loyal workforce, and fewer days of missed work are some of the most appealing benefits that an employer could expect to reap when implementing flexible policies.
When employees are happier and feel valued, employers can expect a lower rate of turnover, higher job satisfaction, and increased long-term retention. Burnout, a common problem in the workplace, can be mitigated by giving employees more autonomy over their schedules and location. This results in higher work quality, less time off because of illness, and a better image for your company.
As employees face increasing demands on their time due to issues related to their children, aging parents, long commutes, and personal pursuits, work-life balance has become a priority for many. When employers attempt to accommodate these needs, their organizations become more attractive targets for job seekers. In today’s competitive job market, this can be crucial in building a high-performing team.
Employers need to understand that flexwork does not necessarily mean less work; it simply means work is being performed in a more flexible manner. Goals are being achieved and deadlines are being met – just not within a typical environment or within traditional working hours. Flexwork is often a win-win for employer and employee.
The Rewards of Flexibility Outweigh the Risks
While flexible working arrangements offer significant benefits, there are a few aspects that could have a negative impact to your business. If employees need close supervision to be effective, then remote work may hinder productivity. In addition, if employees are working outside of normal business hours, then availability to clients or vendors may be diminished. These pitfalls can be remedied by careful planning and regular check-ins.
Technology could pose another challenge, but many remote workers have fully functional home offices that are secure and up to date. The risk of employees being distracted while working outside of the office pales in comparison to the benefits and potential value they can add to a company.
While every individual workplace must grapple with employees’ needs, the research is clear: Flexible work results in significant benefits and strengthens the relationship between businesses and workers. Attitudes are changing, and if your business ignores this new frontier of work, you run the risk of losing your best talent to your competition.
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