The Monday-Friday, 9-5, in-the-office workday is on its way out, and it has everything to do with the changing needs of employees. 20 years ago, working from home and having a flexible work environment was mostly unheard of. Employees woke up, went to work, did their jobs, and came home in time for dinner. This isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Now, workers may actually prefer staying at home to work, coming into the office for a few hours, or simply working completely remotely without it negatively impacting their performance. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of creating a flexible working environment.
Keeps Employees More Productive
According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, individuals who worked from their home were actually more productive than those in the office (and reported a higher job satisfaction). While a flexible work environment certainly isn’t the best fit for every employee, it can do wonders for those that function well without a ton of supervision and in a quiet environment. In addition, working from home is a great fit for workers who have more monotonous job responsibilities that don’t require a lot of collaboration or creativity.
No matter what industry you’re working in or what your job title is, work can be stressful. Whether it’s the end of the month or the day before a product launch, your job can be challenging at any point in time. By providing flexible work policies, you’re giving your employees just another way to de-stress their lives and find balance.
By providing stress-relief to employees that may desperately need it, you may also be making them happier and satisfied. And any tactic that helps make your employees’ jobs easier and a little less stressful is a great venture.
More Hiring Opportunities
A flexible work environment can have profound benefits for more than just your employees. By expanding work policies and allowing individuals to work outside of the office, you’ll also be opening up new talent opportunities. When employees don’t have to be in the office all of the time, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider the prospect of hiring outside of the company’s immediate area. If you’re having trouble finding high-quality talent in your area, considering talent regardless of their location might work wonders.
Beyond completely-remote employees, stay-at-home parents, individuals with disabilities, and more will now have the opportunity to re-enter the workforce due to a flexible working environment. Without the need to be in the office from 9-5, the working environment may transform into a blend of workers from all backgrounds, ages, and locations.
Builds Trust with your Employees
Nothing says your employer trusts you quite like getting the option to work from the comfort of your own home when needed. Empowering your employees to make decisions about where they want to work can help build a level of trust among employee-employer that’s difficult to achieve.
When you provide this type of opportunity for your employees, they recognize that they’re being trusted with getting the same amount of work done at home as they would in the office. It’s more than just giving them flexibility – it’s added trust and appreciation for their workplace.
What a Flexible Work Environment Demands
You can’t implement flexible work policies without understanding the challenges that come with them. Below are many of the challenges that a flexible working environment demands:
Clarifying goals and objectives
Everyone should be on the same page in terms of what your expectations are for work performance and work output. Establish some goals and objectives that you think can and should be achieved by the individual who’s interested in utilizing these new flexible policies.
Know how you’re going to measure performance (at least initially). When first starting out a work from home policy, you’ll need to ensure that the work performance isn’t being hindered. In addition, keep an eye on if/how the company culture changes and adapts.
A high level of team morale
You’ll need to have a high level of team morale before implementing major changes to company policy. If the culture at your workplace is shaky as is, it’s probably not best to allow employees to work independently from the office. Only teams that work effectively already should be given new work flexibility and opportunities.
The right workers for the job
Flexible work policies might not be for everyone. If you have a worker who is easily distracted or has a very low work output, it’s probably best to keep closer supervision in the office. For those workers who don’t need a lot of supervision, these policies may help them flourish even further.
Most importantly, there needs to be a high level of trust before implementing new policies. Don’t go into the process blind without fully believing in your employees and their work abilities.