Does your organization offer work flexibility? If it does, congratulations. Your company is one of the 80 percent of businesses that have made it their business to improve their employees’ lives by offering flexible work options. If your company is still on the fence about flex, now might be the time to consider converting to a flex-friendly work environment mindset. Here’s why.
In their animated video “Work Flexibility,” below, the American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence outlines the many reasons for companies to embrace work flexibility. In short: forward-thinking companies should take the necessary steps to increase work flex so that employees can be at their best, both on and off the job.
As an employer, why should flex matter to you? Isn’t your main concern that your employees show up to work on time, work in a traditional office (so you can keep an eye on them, after all), and whatever they do after hours is their business?
Not so. Studies have repeatedly shown that employees who work flexibly are more engaged, happier, more invested in the company, and less likely to quit their jobs. All of this results in increased productivity for you as the employer, better quality of work being produced since workers can work during their peak times (which might be at 6:00 AM for some, and 10:30 PM for others), and a much bigger talent pool to choose from, since you’re not limited to job candidates in the immediate vicinity of your offices.
The Work Flexibility video outlines the various types of flexible work arrangements that can be made between managers and their employees, as well as their benefits. For starters, telecommuting (i.e. working from home) can save time and money in commuting costs, and also allows employees to meet the demands of their busy lives. And for companies, telecommuting saves money by lowering utility and other overhead costs. (It’s estimated that companies save around $10,000 in real estate costs per telecommuting employee annually!)
Flexible schedules are another option. No two workers are alike, so trying to wrangle them into working the same set hours each day just doesn’t make sense. Allowing flexible schedules, which means that employees can start and stop their workday as needed, can be a win/win. Employees will still come into an office (which some employers want), but at various points depending on the agreed-upon schedule. According to the video, to get the best result, employers and employees should work together to create the most effective flexible work program.
Compressed workweeks are also a popular flexible work option. Employees might work longer hours Monday-Thursday, so that they can have Fridays free. Other options include part-time work, or allowing employees to job share (where two part-timers share the responsibilities of one full-time job).
There is no one-size-fits-all design when it comes to work flexibility. That’s what makes it so great: companies can literally customize their flexible working arrangements as they see fit, ensuring that managers and employees can all work together on their terms, ensuring work-life balance for all.
But beyond higher employee retention rates, staying competitive with other companies also offering work flexibility, and being an eco-friendly way to work, what else can work flex offer to employers? Well, money, honey. Job stress is at an all-time high—and it’s employers who are paying the price… literally. It’s estimated that job stress costs $300 billion a year in the form of diminished productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, as well as in medical, insurance, and legal fees.
That’s why employers have to face these issues head-on, whether they want to or not. A great way to minimize worker stress—and promote an overall healthier workplace—is with work flexibility.
Once employers buy into and are supportive of their companies’ flexible work program, workers need to be given the tools necessary to succeed, such as training. And as the video points out, work flexibility isn’t about employees working less; it’s about keeping people engaged and performing well by giving them ways to work that fit their needs and preferences. Then, and only then, can companies attract—and retain—the best and brightest talent out there who will help take their companies to the next level.
photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com