What is Workplace Flexibility And What Are Its Main Benefits?
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- Workplace flexibility can take many shapes and sizes, and is an integral part of the modern workplace.
- Workplace flexibility can impact employee health and wellbeing, as well as overall productivity, morale, and inclusivity.
- While benefits of workplace flexibility are well documented, but flexibility can also backfire if it is not implemented correctly, as part of the broader company culture.
With the rapid changes that technology and the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the workplace in recent years, it’s no wonder that conversations about workplace flexibility rose to prominence. And as the pandemic receded, new approaches to work seem to have taken their place in the modern company culture.
With some companies pushing to move back to more traditional work styles, and employees and job seekers firmly supporting remote and flexible work options, it’s still not clear whether the future of work will be taken over by flexible approaches or if flexibility will be one of many different ways of working.
What is clear, however, is that workplace flexibility is here to stay. In this post, we explore the most common benefits of workplace flexibility and why you may want to support it.
What is Workplace Flexibility
Workplace flexibility refers to the ability of employees to adjust their work schedules and arrangements to better balance their work hours with their personal needs. A historical example of flexibility has been the opportunity to choose full-time or part-time employment, but options are rapidly growing.
A flexible workplace doesn’t follow a preset recipe, and it can be implemented in multiple ways. Common flexible arrangements include:
- Job sharing
- Flexible hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Compressed workweek
- Four-day workweek
Why is Workplace Flexibility Important
With the wealth of experience in flexibility over the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no lack of data to back up the suggestions that flexibility translates into considerable benefits. This is true both for employees as well as their employers.
- According to a survey conducted by FlexJobs, 72% of respondents stated that workplace flexibility is one of the top factors they consider when evaluating job opportunities.
- In a global survey by IWG, 85% of respondents stated that workplace flexibility increases productivity
- A report by Deloitte revealed that 90% of interviewed professionals value flexible work arrangements
- Research from the International Labour Organization (ILO) indicates that workplace flexibility can lead to a 10-30% increase in productivity
Moreover, the impact of a flexible mindset on employee well-being, workplace culture, and employee satisfaction can be the determining factor in the acquisition of top talent and retention.
Common benefits of workplace flexibility
1. Improved work-life balance
Workplace flexibility is critical in helping workers balance their professional and personal responsibilities. By allowing employees to adjust their own schedules and arrangements, employers empower individuals to manage their time efficiently and address competing demands such as caregiving, personal interests, and health issues.
However, to ensure flexibility delivers positive results in terms of work-life balance, employers must ensure lines between work and personal life do not become overly blurred, as this can translate to excessive work and the inability for employees to “switch off.”
2. Reduced Stress
Stress and the accumulation of work-related worries and issues can easily lead to burnout, one of the most common workplace health issues, and comes at a considerable cost, even in monetary terms.
Employees with control over their work schedules and arrangements experience less stress and anxiety. By effectively managing their workload and priorities, they can avoid feeling overwhelmed by work demands, leading to improved mental well-being.
3. Increased Job Satisfaction
Workplace flexibility ranks among the most sought-after elements for job seekers, according to LinkedIn. When employees can balance their work and personal lives, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs and remain engaged in their work, which can help reduce employee turnover.
However, as with many other workplace-related issues, job satisfaction depends on several factors that go beyond flexible work options. It’s crucial for companies to ensure flexible work schedules and approaches to work are broadly supported and offer employees opportunities for growth and development.
4. Better Work Performance
According to a Garner survey, flexibility is the main reason for increased productivity among workers interviewed. Employees with flexible work arrangements tend to be more engaged and exhibit higher job performance provided that flexible work approaches are implemented correctly.
Control over their work schedule allows each team member to focus on tasks when they are most productive, resulting in better performance. Moreover, reduced stress and burnout can also positively impact human resources’ targets and goals, translating into increased productivity across the board.
5. Reduced Absenteeism
Workplace flexibility is associated with lower rates of absenteeism. By accommodating employees’ needs and allowing them to adjust accordingly, flexible employers can ensure these do not translate to extended or overly frequent absence periods.
6. Healthier Lifestyle
Workplace flexibility promotes healthier habits by enabling employees to allocate time for exercise, proper meal planning, and self-care activities. With the ability to adapt their work arrangements, employees can incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines.
Moreover, the reduced commuting time has health benefits too, which could become collective benefits when accounting for lower emissions caused by traveling to work and spending time in an office space.
7. Increased Job Opportunities
Workplace flexibility helps break down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities or health issues, allowing a wider range of people to participate in the workforce. Moreover, flexibility can enable a variety of individuals with limited access to traditional work opportunities, such as unpaid caregivers, to pursue a successful career.
Employers can contribute to a more diverse and inclusive workplace by offering flexible work arrangements. These factors are increasingly central to positive employee experience and retention.
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As we have seen, workplace flexibility offers numerous benefits to employees and employers when correctly implemented. By empowering individuals to adapt their work arrangements, organizations can achieve improved employee well-being, increased productivity, enhanced job satisfaction, and improved employee retention.
Employers who prioritize employee flexibility can expect reduced turnover, higher employee engagement, and a more diverse workforce. Embracing workplace flexibility is a step towards creating a healthier, more inclusive, and prosperous work environment.
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