Making the workplace more flexible will aid in maintaining a high-quality output from employees.
Technology has drastically changed our workforce and work spaces over the past decade—and in the minds of many, employees and organizations—for the better. While traditional 9-to-5 jobs—with employees strapped to cubicles—were the norm for decades, that status quo is replaced with remote offices, telecommuting, flexible schedules, shared jobs and open work environments. Whether you’re a startup or an established corporation, let’s dig into why the flexibility offered through technological advancements and progressive leaders could be exactly what sets your business apart.
While flexible work arrangements grabbed headlines 10 years ago, it’s now what prospective employees seek. Whether you cite the millennial generation, or simply ever-increasing commute times, as highlighted in the eye-opening piece in the New York Times, employees have been hungry for change. Our culture overall is embracing the importance of work/life balance, whether that “life” bucket is time with family, pets, traveling or enjoying a hobby. Employers are noticing that satisfied, healthy employees are more productive, and ultimately able to reach their business goals faster. A study based on findings from a Fortune 500 company showed individuals with a flexible work arrangement reported decreased psychological distress, increased job satisfaction and decreased stress.
In Columbus, a city that’s been in the headlines for embracing the start-up community, prospective employees are getting more opportunities to take advantage of these policies. If you are a business leader who is eager to implement flexible work arrangements for your employees, but are wary of a major change, here are some initial ways to get a policy started:
Seek feedback from your employees. Figure out what would make your team most productive and what could help business continue to run smoothly, based on your industry and client/customer needs. Host a brainstorm or meeting to get honest feedback and thoughts from your staff members.
Offer several ways to have flexible work. Perhaps you’re able to offer telecommuting but not flexible schedules based on your business needs. Or maybe your infrastructure can’t support telecommuting but would work well if some employees worked staggered hours. Take small steps first and figure out what can make the biggest impact fastest.
Rollout the new policies. Implement your company’s flexible work policies in an environment that fosters open communication, questions and feedback. Some employees may not embrace new work arrangements the same way others will. Calm fears by ensuring the policies are clear and that the focus remains on job performance for all.
Julie Borm is a Senior Strategist at Geben Communication. She partners with clients to develop communications programs that support overall business objectives and deliver on ROI. By taking a strategy-first approach, Julie innovates across all digital and traditional channels to ensure clients’ messages are heard loud and clear by key stakeholders.