There is no doubt that flexible working arrangements are a deal breaker for most people looking for a job. As COVID-19 dies out in most parts of the world, businesses are opening. However, employees are requesting flexible hours and remote-work arrangements. With the right balance, flexible working arrangements can be favourable for a company and their employees. By allowing flexible work arrangements now, businesses can improve recruitment and retention efforts, augment organisational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behaviour, and help the organisation’s efforts to be socially responsible.
Flexible work arrangements offer numerous benefits to both employers and employees. Such benefits include assisting in recruiting efforts, enhancing worker morale, managing employee attendance and reducing absenteeism, improving retention of good workers, boosting productivity and creating a better work/life balance for workers. Additionally, flexible working arrangements would minimise travel expenses, especially those far from the office.
It is essential to develop a flexible work policy, so the application and decision-making process is straightforward and consistent; workplaces should include several core elements: a clear vision, executive support, a clear action plan, defined timelines and responsibility for change. This would help all employees to work towards a specific goal. Additionally, all employees have equal access to training, development and promotional opportunities, regardless of their flexible work arrangement. This would encourage employees to put in extra effort and increase productivity wherever they work.
Employers would also have to be open to recognising the different needs that their employees might need. For example, employees may only need to modify their work arrangements quickly. In contrast, others might need long-term agreements, such as an employee who wants to return to work after parental leave as a part-time employee on an ongoing basis. All individuals’ needs are different, so there must be different approaches to these needs. In this case, having open and honest conversations is very important to help avoid confusion and uncertainty—staff can manage expectations and encourage a supportive work environment by having these discussions with each other
Workplace flexibility isn’t a unique perk – it’s a new business imperative. To affect meaningful change – in performance, culture, and equity – companies need to be purposeful and thorough in designing flexibility.