One of the keys to a productive workforce is to grant employees some flexibility. Nowadays, flexibility is generally tied to a healthy work-life balance, independence, and a more casual and conducive work environment. But how is it connected to workplace productivity, you may ask? Flexibility entails allowing employees a higher degree of freedom in how and where they engage in work.
Many employers are typically unsure if doing so will truly translate to greater productivity, hence their apprehension of changing into a new work style and work environment for fear of their employees becoming disengaged instead. But as proven by surveys and studies centred on the current millennial workforce, factors related to flexibility have become instrumental to their performance and job satisfaction.
The problem that most employers face is focusing on the potential shortcomings of not having their employees completely under their thumb, leading to productivity paranoia that ultimately degrades the latter’s performance instead. Rather, they should see the bigger picture; a workforce that is content with their job and finds purpose in it will certainly put in their best effort to make the business succeed. Companies that are more trusting in their employees to put out quality work on time are more likely to appreciate their superiors and, in turn, improve their approach to working and constantly strive to meet their expectations and possibly even beyond.
Known benefits of flexible working arrangements
Businesses reap more significant benefits from flexible working than the minute gains from constantly monitoring employees working in or out of the office. These include:
1. Attracting and retaining talent and high-performing employees
Nowadays, professionals actively look for flexible working options for an ideal work-life balance. In 2021, a survey involving 10,000 knowledge workers (programmers, engineers, physicians, and the like) found that over 95 per cent and 78 per cent wanted flexible schedules and flexibility in their workplaces, respectively. Flexible working arrangements can thus allow organisations to recruit talents that would otherwise be out of reach.
Furthermore, the 2021 Employee Turnover and Retention Trends Report published by Quantum Workplace states that employees who were allowed reasonable workplace flexibility are 4.4 times less likely to quit. In short, employers who lend a helping hand to their employees in juggling their personal and professional life make great strides towards retaining their workforce.
2. Significantly reducing absenteeism
Airtasker’s survey of around a thousand full-time The United States (U.S) employees found that those who worked remotely worked 1.4 more days per month than their non-remote colleagues.
There are many circumstances that require getting some time off work, and these can vary widely, from visiting the doctor to taking care of personal responsibilities. Flexible working lets employees in such situations fulfil their private obligations at fixed times of the day and complete their work after they are done.
3. Boosting performance and productivity
Flexible working arrangements allow employees to do their best work during their most productive hours. As mentioned, a survey by Airtasker saw remote employees working 16.8 more days per year or 1.4 more days each month compared to office workers. Moreover, they were more productive during those days as remote workers lost an average of just around 27 minutes to distractions per workday compared to the 37 minutes of office workers.
4. Increasing employees’ ability to handle stress
Today’s traditional workday can be highly demanding and even more so if employees have to juggle other responsibilities. Constantly facing high pressure increases their stress levels, eventually leading to burnout. Flexible work arrangements can help prevent this in full-time work situations, as discovered in a study by the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology wherein participants introduced to flexible working environments experienced an overall decrease in occupational stress.
Switching to flexible working arrangements offers several proven advantages for employers and employees. Without a doubt, it is worthwhile investigating flexible work options for introducing increased morale, office efficiency, space maximisation, and more possibilities in the organisation.
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