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How a Flexible Workplace Benefits Your Bottom Line

Technological advances and flexibility in the workplace have redefined the workday for many organizations and their employees.

The 24/7 workday has replaced the traditional 9 to 5, which has shown to intrude on personal time. Employers need to invest in the analysis and implementation of a flexible workplace program so they don’t lose the battle of recruiting and retaining top talent.

Having a flexible working environment means that your organization defines “work” differently and, as a result, new guidelines are established for when, where and how employees get tasks done.

This also means that results are not gauged by how much face time employees put in at the office, but rather the quality of their work and whether it gets done. For employees, the advantages of this flexibility allow for an easier time managing work and family obligations. It allows individuals to engage in their roles as a professional, parent, school board member, coach, avid exerciser and/or homemaker all at the same time.

What does this mean for you? More satisfied employees and a smarter talent strategy.

In a 2015 Workplace Trends Survey, 87% of HR leaders believe that workplace flexibility programs lead to increased employee satisfaction, while nearly 7 out of 10 HR leaders use workplace flexibility programs as a recruiting and retention tool.

As you create a policy, examine your workplace demographics closely because Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials value this benefit very differently–Baby Boomers the least.

There are many types of flexible working arrangements being implemented across the nation, including:

  • Part-time employment (reduced work hours)
  • Flexible scheduling (work within core hours during the day–vary arrival and departure times)
  • Telecommuting (working from a remote location)
  • Compressed workweeks (working a full schedule in fewer than five days)
  • Phased return-to-work from leave
  • Job sharing (dividing tasks among multiple team members)
  • Summer hours
  • Phased retirement (gradually decreasing the number of responsibilities and hours worked)
  • Hoteling (employees share a workspace because they are only in the office for a portion of the week)

Employers may offer these options on an as-needed basis or as part of formal programs for all employees. Employers can also create a workplace that is entirely flexible with no defined work schedule, known as a results-only work environment. Most employers tend to land somewhere in the middle and have formal yet flexible arrangements.

Benefits of Flexibility

Many companies have had success implementing flexible arrangements in the workplace.

For companies with employees who are no longer forced to come to the office and do not have set work hours, turnover has declined and employee engagement has increased.

In addition to retention, these companies also received the following benefits from offering a flexible working environment:

  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced recruiting success
  • Employees are more accessible throughout the day
  • Reduced expenses for real estate costs and leased office space
  • Reduced carbon footprint

Creating a Successful Program

Developing a program to make your workplace more flexible is fairly simple and requires minimal or no resources:

  • Create a link between flexibility and your organization’s goals. Determine how existing and future flexibility plans will align with your current and future company goals.
  • Look at your current flexible work schedule offerings to find out who is eligible, how the program is used, how the program is administered and what is expected of management and employees.
  • Determine how flexible you want to be. You will need to balance corporate guidelines, individual needs, management desires, etc.
  • Enlist management personnel to promote and administer flexible working arrangements. These people should have the training and tools to do so properly.
  • Communicate with your employees about your plans to improve workplace flexibility as part of your total employee benefits offerings.
  • Link flexible workplace arrangements to your business results by creating a measurement system that gauges that connection.
  • Sell the program to senior executives by highlighting how the program can positively benefit your bottom line. They could also utilize the flexible workplace program to show other employees that flexibility will not negatively affect their careers.

As baby boomers retire and younger generations enter the workforce, employers have to be more adaptable to their busy schedules. Employers are finding that some workers may not like a traditional schedule: elder care responsibilities require greater flexibility and parents insist that they have more time with their families.

Finally, as economic performance weighs on many organizations, employees may value more flexibility in lieu of a raise or bonus, which means more savings for the company.

To learn more about incorporating a flexible work environment at your organization, contact your OneDigital consultant.