We often see the term ‘flexible workplace' listed in vacancies. However, what does it entail exactly? Workplace flexibility is a work arrangement whereby employees are offered flexibility with regards to where they work, when they work and how they work.
The desire for a flexible workplace has become one of the most important requirements for job seekers, not only because it gives them more freedom to balance doing their job whilst managing other life responsibilities but also because it reflects the organisation's values. If an organisation finds no issue with allowing a flexible work arrangement, it is often deduced that the work culture is one of trust and accommodation. The perks of flexible working for employees are commonly known, yet many employers still seem to be in the dark as to the benefits it can offer their organisation.
Here are a few of the numerous ways employers and organisations benefit when providing a flexible workplace:
1. Increased productivity
When employees are able to work from any place they want and at any time they prefer, there is a noticeable likelihood that they will be more efficient and productive. This is because some people work better in the afternoon or evening rather than early morning (and vice versa) therefore, offering them this freedom makes them feel in control and more focused. Thus, they would plan a work schedule that fits their lifestyle best and dedicate that particular time for work which enables them to be more productive. It is also worth mentioning that flexibility also results in a reduction of tardiness as employees do not need to commute to the office thus always being on time for virtual meetings etc.
2. Reduces stress and burnout (read: less sick leave)
Flexibility allows for the attaining of a healthy work-life balance; when employees feel that they are leading a balanced life rather than rushing from one thing to the next, their stress levels decrease which means there is a lower risk for burnout. The impact of stress and burnout is not only visible on one's mental health but also on their physical health. This is because stress weakens the immune systems leading to the person becoming more susceptible to illness. Less stress and minimal burnout risk leads to more physically healthy employees and this reflects in less sick leave and absenteeism.
3. Increased job satisfaction
Giving employees the opportunity to choose their workspace and schedule rather than the usual office environment or strict working hours such as the fixed 9am to 5pm schedule increases job satisfaction in employees. This is because this freedom and trust creates a workplace culture that empowers and respects its employees which in turn, boosts morale and engagement leading to an increase in job satisfaction.
4. Attracting and retaining top talent
When recruiting, one would try and offer the best benefits to draw in candidates. A flexible work arrangement is a key incentive to attracting top-performing individuals. It gives potential candidates the impression that as a company and employer, you are progressive and willing to trust and accommodate employee's needs.
On the other hand, employees' priorities and situations often change; having children and needing to care for them, looking after dependents, enrolling for courses amongst others. Providing a flexible work arrangement might be the perfect solution to retaining skilled employees who would otherwise need to leave their position to juggle various priorities that would need to be done during the standard office work day.
5. Saves cost
With less in-house employees, less office space is required and less energy and office supplies would be used by employees which means more savings for the company.
A flexible work schedule benefits both employees and employers in numerous ways. Considering a flexible working arrangement for your business works in your best interest as you would be providing your employees with what they need. By allowing them flexibility, you would also be showing trust in your employees whilst allowing for a better work-life balance which would impact your business in a positive way overall.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.