Workers always have to adjust to the company’s needs and requirements, but what about the other way around? Being flexible with your workforce is as important as them showing adaptability to meet your expectations. Do you wonder what employee flexibility implies? Would you like to know why you should promote it in your workplace?
You probably heard about flexible work arrangements. Home office, hybrid work, compressed hours, flexitime… This is one aspect. But there are many ways employers can answer their workers’ needs in terms of flexibility in the workplace. Allowing more flexibility to your staff is also about adopting a flexible management style that enables your team members to grow and thrive.
After discovering the advantages of being less rigid about your workers’ working time, location, and practices, you’ll be more likely to implement this people-centric approach in your business. So we will complete this post with useful tips to foster employee flexibility.
What does employee flexibility mean?
A new vision of work
Many people consider their job an aspect of their lives that is much more than a financial means to pay their bills and buy what they need. Modern workers want to find meaning in their job and learn new hard and soft skills as much as possible. Adopting a flexible management style, which means being less rigid in your leading methods, helps you answer their expectation. It gives your team members the flexibility they need to look for solutions by themselves, fail, and learn to improve at their job. This concept is the opposite of micromanagement and if implemented correctly, it can make your coworkers thrive.
Employee flexibility is the perfect solution for people and companies
In terms of working time and location, a flexible work model is an ideal mix between the traditional working model based on coming to the office every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a full remote system. Most employees actually don’t want to work only remotely, but still expect to have the choice to work from home or a third workplace. According to the flexible working policy in place, organizations can request their staff to come to the office a few days a week (or a month) and let them work from anywhere the rest of the time.
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Businesses can choose multiple types of employee flexibility
If the only magic word to make everyone happy is flexibility, there are multiple ways to apply this idea according to your company’s and your workers’ needs. For example, employee flexibility can be enabled thanks to the following:
- hybrid work;
- compressed hours;
- part-time job opportunities;
- job sharing;
- distributed work;
- macro management;
- career development opportunities.
The key is to find the right balance between what you expect as an employer or a manager and what will help improve your workforce’s level of experience and satisfaction in the workplace.
Why should you adopt a more flexible management style?
Employee flexibility is a magnet for talent attraction and retention
The younger the workers get, the most demanding they are about employee flexibility. They cherish work-life balance more than the previous generations and know that flexible work is the main solution to reach it. Moreover, remote work statistics prove that employees are more productive when working remotely than in the office. Therefore, if you work with Millennials and Gen Z, or if you expect to find your next talents among these two generations, you need to offer flexible work arrangements to retain and attract them.
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Flexibility in the workplace enhances a better work-life balance
Working from anywhere (and sometimes at any time) is a huge advantage for people that long for a better work-life balance. Avoiding daily commuting gives them more time to focus on their personal activities, families, and friends. This also contributes to improving employees’ physical and mental health. Burnout statistics show that 53% of workers consider flexible work plays a major role in reducing symptoms of work depression.
A flexible workforce is more satisfied, engaged, and productive
Empowering employees by answering their expectations and acting on improving their experience at work is a win-win for all. Obviously, it directly helps boost your staff’s morale and motivation levels. They become more engaged when they feel listened to and valued for their work. Have you heard about the link between employee happiness and productivity? According to Oxford University’s Saïd Business School research, happy workers are 12% more productive. Another good reason to give them more flexibility, isn’t it?
A hybrid workspace costs less than a traditional office
When you give your workforce more freedom about where and when to work, the use of your office space changes. There might be days when your workplace is half-empty. This is the moment when you need to rethink your office design and stop spending money on empty spaces. Does this sound too hectic for you? Check our office cost-cutting ideas and our hybrid office calculator to see how you can better optimize your space!
How do you enable employee flexibility?
Promote a management style that enhances employee flexibility
Remote work sometimes tends to revive harmful leadership styles like micromanagement, for example. But micromanaging your team because you can’t see where, when, and how they are working has the opposite effect of what you initially want to achieve with more flexibility in the workplace. The best practices for enabling employee flexibility are based on trust, transparency, recognition, empowerment, and collaboration.
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Provide learning resources for all your staff to help them thrive
Giving your employees more autonomy when it comes to figuring out how to achieve their goals can be stressful. What if they lose too much time trying to find a solution? First, we’ve just talked about trust. Second, being flexible in your management style doesn’t mean you stop supporting them if they need help. Third, provide them with learning resources to acquire new skills and find solutions.
Create a flexible office that matches this new way of working
Do you only have single desks in your office? This is not going to work with a flexible workforce. When you allow your employees to work from anywhere, they take the opportunity to come on-site to reconnect with their colleagues and work on collaborative projects. They don’t expect to sit at a desk alone (like at home) but to have workspaces to gather and interact. Therefore, creating a flexible office space is crucial to enhancing workplace connection, collaboration, and productivity.
Get the right tools for hybrid workspace and workforce management
To enable employee flexibility, some tools can be a great help, if not unmissable. For example, collaborating can become challenging if team members don’t know when their colleagues are in the office and when they are not. For employers, checking office analytics is key to ensuring the workspace meets everybody’s needs. As far as managers are concerned, knowing who is working where and when is also essential to do their job correctly.
What are the most useful tools to foster flexibility in the workplace?
Flexible office management software
A flexible office management software like deskbird helps you in many aspects of employee flexibility such as:
- workspace optimization;
- desk and room booking;
- flexible scheduling;
- office analytics.
Accessible anywhere, at any time, and tailored-made to match your office and workers’ needs, this tool is the perfect definition and representation of work flexibility!
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Online communication tools
Clear and smooth communication is the backbone of a successful flexible team. Employees working at different timings and locations need tools that make their interactions as easy and efficient as possible. This is why communication platforms like Slack, Google Meet, or MS Teams have become must-have digital solutions for hybrid companies. However, you should always consider your workers’ needs and not implement practices without getting their opinions first. For example, in a multigenerational workforce, some people might be more familiar with e-mail communication than video calls.
Project management platforms
Another important aspect to consider when embracing this new way of working is access to information. Working flexibly shouldn’t affect the efficiency and performance of your team. But asking for a document from a colleague is sometimes easier in person than in a virtual environment, especially if not everybody is working in the office at the same time. How do you solve this? If you don’t use one yet, invest in a project management platform. All the information is gathered in one place and accessible at any time, from anywhere, and from anybody you give access to.
In-person and online learning resources
Last but not least, it can sometimes be challenging to give flexibility to employees when knowing that they might not have the required knowledge for a specific task or project. Therefore, in order to be more flexible in your way of managing and comfortable with it, enabling your team members to widen their skills is key. The solution is to make in-person and online training more accessible. And when we say that workers are a company’s backbone, this is also valid here. You can also help your staff gain new abilities by encouraging them to share knowledge and learn from each other.
Flexibility is critical if you want your organization to be future-proof and successful. Do you wish to foster employee flexibility in your workplace? We can’t help you with the leadership style part, but we can definitely support you in adopting a flexible work model! Request a free demo of the deskbird app to discover our user-friendly features for managing hybrid spaces and teams!