6 Reasons Your Team Should Have Flexibility
If you’re considering embracing flexible schedules in the workplace, you’re in good company. “Sixty-seven percent of small businesses offer some form of flexible work arrangements,” according to Zenefits. Businesses everywhere are turning to flexible schedules, and for good reason. Modern working is reported to increase productivity, improve retention rates, and support the needs of the current workforce.
Here are six reasons your team should have flexibility.
Attracts top employees
Offering flexible schedules, like a condensed work week or remote opportunities, opens the door to a wider pool of qualified team members. Location and travel can be a huge obstacle for some people – new parents adjusting to life with a baby and globe-hopping military spouses, for instance – whose lifestyles leave little room for a typical 9-to-5 job. A Forbes article states, “when long maternity leave and flexible work schedules are provided by an employer, women are more likely to stay with a company, grow in their positions and be strong contributors to the organization. … Companies with the highest representation of women in the boardroom tend to experience better financial performance than those without female representation.”
Decreases turnover rates
More and more people entering (and many who are already in) the workforce are seeking flexible schedules. If a company offers a traditional, inflexible work schedule and employees find that’s not working for them, those team members will go out and find a company that can give them what they’re looking for. This turnover is avoidable and preventable with the right modern working options. “In a 2015 FlexJobs survey, “82% of respondents say they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.” Listening to your team, understanding their concerns and priorities, and applying their feedback will improve your business in ways a standard workday cannot.
Improves efficiency and performance
There are only so many hours in the day, and when companies ask their employees to come to work at the same time as everyone else in the local area, that can make for some very long commutes. Working from home in the morning, or starting office hours before or after the morning rush, encourages a more efficient use of time. Instead of wasting 90 minutes driving during rush hour, start the workday two hours later and the commute will look more like the 30 minutes it should. Employees will then have the opportunity to spend the rest of that time doing something more productive. Or skip the commute altogether and build work-from-home options into the week. “Some studies have shown that home working led to a 13% performance increase, attributed to fewer distractions, and the increased expectation of producing results.” Jill King, Director of International Markets at VirginPulse.
Allows people to work when they’re at their best
Not everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed at 9 a.m. Some people need to wait until 11 a.m. to feel like they can tackle the world. Or 6 a.m. Or 2 a.m. Allowing for flexibility means the company is getting the best out of their employees, and the employees are giving their all because they’re doing the majority of their work when they’re at their individual peak. Employees with flexible schedules reported getting one or more extra hours of sleep every night, and didn’t feel obligated or pressured to go into work when they weren’t feeling well. According to Workopolis, “A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour in 2011 found that … overall, flexible scheduling allowed [people] to feel more well rested, healthier, and under less stress.”
Life happens. Your child has a two-hour delay at school, your cat has to go to the vet, your mom is in town and you want to meet her for lunch. With a flexible schedule, employees won’t miss work for any of these occasions. Your team can rearrange their schedule in a way that allows them to prioritize life events as they arise, while still making time to get their work done. A study that surveyed 3,000 professionals “revealed that using at least one of these flexible work arrangements leads to significantly higher feelings of [work/life] balance than not using any at all.” Respecting employees’ lives outside of the office by offering modern working options demonstrates to your team that you understand and value their needs. This appreciation and acknowledgement improves productivity in the workplace and morale overall. In creating a supportive, flexible work environment, your staff will be excited, energized, and thankful to be part of your team.
Increases trust and communication
“Flexibility implies trust – that you trust your employee to make the best decision for their professional lives as possible – and most employees are grateful for autonomy and it empowers them to work when they’re most productive,” says Liz Walker, HR Director at Unum UK. This trust promotes a sense of excitement when working with their team and a refreshed willingness to collaborate effectively. If your staff is working in various schedules, communication will be key because they’ll have to be more active in letting each other know where they are in a project, where they expect to be by the end of the week, and what they need assistance with. The strides in recent technology, such as project management apps, video conferencing, and almost unlimited internet access, have made the steady flow of communication and collaboration possible from just about anywhere in the world.