Flexibility: The key to a progressive work environment
Many traditionalists might associate ‘flexibility’ at work with recklessness, to the extent that they may shun away any non-traditional policies that aim to create a more productive working environment. In our day and age, conformity and the stigma associated with flexibility still rule in most cases, but times are changing and traditional working environments are being reexamined and changed globally.
For some reason, it seems that ‘presence’ speaks louder than output. Just because an employee is physically in the office from 8am – 5pm, it doesn’t mean everyone is productive during that time. We all function and perform very differently. One person’s working style can be the complete opposite of the next. Ultimately, getting flexibility right is definitely a management challenge and it all comes down to trust and having the benefit of the doubt that your team will deliver regardless if they’re sitting in the office, working from home, or even at the coffee shop next door.
As mentioned in previous communications, surging talent shortages around the world cannot be ignored. Consequently, progressive policies should be considered and introduced. This is important across all generations, of course, however, it’s particularly necessary when managing millennials, who, according to Forbes, will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2030.
It’s no longer just the millenials that value flexibility, non-millennials do too. As long as employees receive clear instructions and have SMART goals, then does it really matter where and how tasks are completed? If concrete deadlines are met, why are we worried about the so-called ‘clocked-in time’?
With the freedom of flexible work, overall productivity levels and retention rates will respectively increase, allowing such flexibility to transform typical ‘work-life separation’ into ‘work-life integration’.
Nonetheless, it is also up to employees to truly appreciate such privileges by utilising them to increase the team’s output and being trustworthy enough to actually use this flexibility productively. Therefore, it comes down to mutual respect and serving the interests of the company to the best of our abilities. In order to do so, we need to find the right balance when it comes to managing our responsibilities. As we increasingly become interconnected, it allows for certain work to be done remotely. However, we need to understand our limitations and due to the nature of some our work, some responsibilities will always require physical presence in a set schedule at times
Flexibility is key to talent management, diversity and inclusion, based on our research, flexibility is not simply a nice thing to do but rather an integral part of the future workplace. The secret is to be a company that ‘adds value to its teams’ rather than one that ‘extracts value from its employees’. Nurturing and valuing individuality and varying perspectives and habits through a flexible work environment will empower employees to live to their best potential and deliver exceptional results.