What does it take to convince companies that work flexibility is a necessity for their business? Demonstrating the impact of work flexibility on their bottom lines is a great first step, and the Global Workplace Analytics Workplace Savings Calculator aims to do just that.

The following workspanTV clip features Rose Stanley, a practice leader at WorldatWork (a 1MFWF Supporter), and Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics (a 1MFWF Supporter), discussing this process.

Lister explains what the calculator does and how companies can benefit from employing job practices such as flexibility and telework. Companies enter the number of employees they have and calculate what the bottom line impact of those figures will be regarding productivity, absenteeism, and turnovers. Saving money is the top driver for most companies, so using the workplace savings calculator can give employers the ability to see where most of their money will be spent and saved.

However, Lister emphasizes that flexibility cannot be implemented only from the top. There is a need to sell the idea and philosophy of flexibility down the line to the middle managers and even to the employees. The overall question that most middle managers and employees will ask is, “What’s in it for me?” They must know what benefits and results they will see when these changes are implemented.

Companies must come to recognize that people are their most important asset. You can get rid of buildings, but a business cannot be run without the people. Because some businesses do not yet think of their employees this way, absenteeism and turnovers are high for some companies. For example, most call centers are notorious for having huge turnover rates. But, by implementing a flexible environment—which might include working at home, flexible schedules, or shared responsibilities between two employees—the turnover rate can begin to lower. Lister comments that the next time you order food at a drive through restaurant, you may not be aware the person taking your order could be working at home.

Lister discusses the success MySQL had when they employed people on every continent (Antarctica excluded) and no one was in a traditional office. She shares that they noted, “We could have never built the programs that we built unless we could go out to the world and hire the best people for the job.” She also adds that companies have proven that they can reduce healthcare costs by reducing stress in the workplace through increased flexibility.

When asked how telework and flexible work arrangements will look in five years, Lister says that there is a growing movement towards change, but that it will take time. The mentality of sweatshops and typing pools is still active, where people are frowned at for arriving later in the morning or leaving earlier in the day. She stresses the need to learn to manage by results.

However, Lister is confident that companies will change as a newer generation comes through the ranks and baby boomers retire, because both groups desire flexibility. Businesses will need to focus on ways to retain their older workers, and flexibility will be key. And there are numerous examples of companies demonstrating that flexible work arrangements are the way forward, so the tide will ultimately turn in their favor.

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