How Flexibility In The Workplace Can Improve Your Organisation
As companies transition into a post-pandemic world, hirers must realise the ways in which employees’ needs and wants have evolved over the years. The nature of work has undergone so many shifts and adjustments that workers had to constantly adapt to changing realities. In the process, many of them have taken away one major insight: work-life balance matters.
Even as work settles back to normal, companies should continue to make employee mental health a priority. The most effective way to do this is by providing flexibility in the workplace. Workplace flexibility can be achieved through a number of different ways. Employers can give their staff flexibility in terms of where to work – whether remotely at all times or through a work-from-anywhere arrangement, which may include the office.
Employers can also give flexibility in terms of when employees can work. Hiring part-time employees, for instance, can make your organisation more attractive to a wider range of candidates, particularly those who are qualified but are not looking for full-time employment. You can also give full-time employees flexible hours by creating shifts where you can distribute work hours equally. Or you can even adopt a 4-day work week where employees work for longer hours but can enjoy an extra day off. Some companies have even started giving their employees unlimited paid time off (PTO), which gives workers the freedom to take all the necessary time off they need without worrying about using up all their leave credits.
Like any kind of work setup, there are many pros and cons of a flexible workplace. However, many of the disadvantages can be offset when there is a strong sense of accountability between manpower and management. Trust is a key factor when instituting flexibility in the workplace. Without it, the set up simply cannot work. This can be achieved through applying effective monitoring measures and hiring self-motivated individuals. What you then get is an equal amount of trust and responsibility, which is the recipe for an effective flexible workplace.
How can an organisation benefit from flexibility in the workplace?
1. It can improve employee retention
Burnout, which can lead to resignations, can be avoided by simply having better work-life balance. By giving employees options on where and when to work, you are effectively telling them that the company is willing to adjust to their living situation. Employees who live considerably far from the office can have the option to work remotely or even from home. Parents of young children can choose a particular working schedule that will allow them to spend more time with their kids.
Having a more favourable work schedule and work situation can already reduce burnout among your workforce. It can help ensure that your employees are working in an environment they are comfortable with. Flexibility also gives employees the option of being able to move from one work setup to another – for instance, from working at the office to working from home or from any remote location. This gives employees more variety in their daily working experience, which can help prevent burnout.
2. It can help you attract top talent
Work flexibility has become one of the top priorities among jobseekers. While compensation package remains the number one consideration, good work-life balance is now seen as a very important factor when looking for a job. This is one of the more lasting effects of years of uncertainty and changing work setups. Many workers have now seen first-hand the importance of keeping the line between work and personal life well-defined. The ability to choose a work arrangement that helps maintain a healthy balance between the two is a benefit that many candidates now want.
In fact, some companies that may not be able to match other companies in terms of compensation packages can remain competitive if they offer work flexibility to candidates. It is a key job selling point, especially among the top young talent who are more likely to be digital nomads, prioritising mobility and ample time off from work in order to explore their other passions.
3. It can improve company diversity
Flexibility in the workplace allows you to attract a wider range of candidates. Because of the myriad options given to your employees, you are automatically a viable employer for candidates of different backgrounds and circumstances.
Heads of the family, in particular, will be attracted to your organisation since you can offer them a work arrangement that can conform to their demanding family life. Flexibility in terms of work locations can also open up your company to a host of qualified candidates all over Malaysia, no longer limiting you to workers within the cities.
All in all, a more diverse workforce can lead to a more well-rounded organisation, one that holds many perspectives and fields of expertise, thereby ushering you into the future.
4. Your productivity can increase
Traditional thinking suggests that the more flexibility you give employees, the less productive they will be. This is one of the reasons why some organisations remain hesitant to adopt a flexible workplace. Many still equate structure with productivity, thinking that employees will not be as dedicated to their job without close supervision and extended work hours.
However, the pandemic has proven these fears to be mostly unfounded, as many companies stayed afloat thanks to the continual, and in some instances, increased productivity of their employees. Working from home or remotely has allowed many employees to spend more time on work and less on commuting. Flexibility, in the long run, can also improve overall mental health, which leads to less burnout. A more rested and engaged employee will always be more productive than one who is fatigued and detached. As long as there is enough monitoring, trust, and accountability built within your flexible workplace, then productivity should increase.
5. You will encourage more employee engagement
Providing flexibility in the workplace sends a message to the employees that their needs are valued and that their voices are being heard. Flexibility requires constant coordination, from working on schedules that are mutually beneficial to doing periodic check-ins. Because of its collaborative nature, a flexible workplace can be empowering to employees. It makes them more engaged and more invested in the organisation’s goals. Ultimately, this can lead to less missed days of work, less employee turnover, and longer careers for your staff.
6. It can provide cost-efficient and more eco-friendly options
There are many ways a flexible workplace can save your company money. Hybrid or fully remote teams means less office operational costs. When employees are able to work within their preferred location and schedule, they are also more likely to work faster, thereby lessening overtime, and consequently, the need for overtime pay. A four-day work week can also be more cost-efficient for your company. Of course, cost-efficiency also means less carbon imprint, which makes your operations, and your organisation as a whole, more sustainable.
Clearly, a flexible workplace can be beneficial, not only to your employees but to your entire organisation as well. Aside from the lessened costs, the mental and physical toll of work is also reduced. This ultimately promotes mental health, better work-life balance, and increased employee engagement. If manpower is truly the life blood of any organisation, then your company stands to gain a lot from a healthier and more content workforce.