In theory, work flexibility is a beautiful thing. An employee is allowed to work from anywhere in the country (or even the world). He can determine when he works and how he works. Countless studies have shown that virtual workers are more productive than their in-office colleagues. Having a flexible schedule then creates a sense of gratitude in employees, who finally get to experience work-life balance.
And let’s not forget about the benefits for employers. On average, employers save about $11,000 per remote worker. On top of that, allowing employees to work from home creates a more dedicated workforce, with far less turnover, which is another way companies save financially. And encouraging telecommuting is also by far one of the greenest ways to run a business, protecting the environment from massive amounts of carbon emissions.
It would seem that flexible work is a win/win in so many ways for both employer and employee.
Thing is, work flexibility is not working.
In a fun and insightful animated video “Why Workplace Flexibility Is Not Working,” Symmetra, an international consultancy company specializing in business solutions, literally draws out the problems with workplace flexibility (watch below).
As it turns out, the problem is not with giving workers a flexible schedule; the issue is people’s antiquated perception of what work flexibility is. The video outlines a few of these mistruths. Here are some of them:
- People think that workplace flexibility is just for women or moms with children.
- Bosses falsely believe that having their workers in the office means that they’ll be more productive.
- Many still view having a flexible schedule as a workplace perk.
- Sadly, many employees believe that they have to earn a flex schedule, and that they’re not entitled to it.
- Managers believe it’s a near nightmare to organize team meetings when teams are virtual.
- Companies are concerned clients won’t accept employees who work from home.
- Some employees worry that if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. As a result, you may get passed over for a promotion.
The biggest myth of all: Employees who work from home slack off.
In fact, work flexibility does work. But it can be easily undermined when companies distrust it, and employees are afraid to ask for it. It’s imperative that workers understand that flex is not a perk, but a right. And it’s equally as crucial for companies to recognize and accept the fact that flexible work is the way most companies will work in the future. (Those who don’t get on board run the risk of falling behind their competition and will take a huge financial hit.)
The video suggests that companies get rid of those deep-seated (and frankly, silly) distrusts that can undermine an organization and threaten its future earnings potential. Once companies accept work flexibility, they’ll be able to attract—and retain—top talent, making their organizations stronger, more successful financially, and with a happier workforce, too.
Now that’s a work model that everyone can—and should—support.
photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com