Have you ever worked in an organization while sitting in a grey cubicle? If so, you have certainly experienced mundane walls, acres of beige carpet, and determined schedule that dampens creativity slows productivity and breeds mediocrity. Isn’t it? These never let you put your soul and heart into the work. None of the best talent and thriving business is after the unproductive and monotonous slumps.
Breaking the anatomy of working together in the office building, the workforce flexibility acting as a catalyst to emotionally charge the exhausted employee, boost morale, improve the performance, intensify collaboration, and increase throughput. Freeing up the caged animal brings the win-win situation for both parties- employees and employers.
Before we dig deeper how trusting flexibility comes in the favor of the organization, let’s discuss in brief what actually workforce flexibility means:
This type of flexibility creates a new arrangement for employees in which the employees will decide, when, where, and how they will work to complete the job, and then the employer officially approves it. It’s expected to become a new norm of conducting business because it helps in attracting, managing, and retaining the right talent along with maximizing productivity and achieving strategic goals.
According to a research, presently around 30 million US workforce is working from at least a day or two in a week, and this number is expected to increase to 1 in 3 employees working remotely by 2020.
It indicates the days are gone when the employees have to sit inside the four walls of the office to work and perform to their peak efficiency. The cloud applications are allowing the companies to facilitate the employees to work ‘where they want,’ ‘when they want,’ and ‘how they want.’ The savvy leaders have started recognizing the need for flexibility and began implementing it.
This is what Jennifer Jones Newbill, the Director, Global Employment Brand at Dell said.
“Our employees value flexible work! Our employees have told us time and time again that they appreciate being treated like adults. They like to self-monitor, and that would include how they pace themselves, what times of day they work, where they choose to work from.”
“The power of my team right now is that we’re global… We bring a powerful collective by not all being in the United States, sitting in the same building together… If we were doing what we are doing with 10 people, all in the U.S., all in the same office, all in Texas, I don’t think we would be as cohesive and strong as a team.”
It’s impressive! Let’s rolled out flexibility organization-wide. Hold on.
Before moving ahead, check out how workforce flexibility paves the way for higher levels of engagement and productivity:
The limitation of working from the office building mandate the recruiters to hire talent in the immediate vicinity, which makes sourcing the top talent quite a task because flexibility has become the minimum expectation of the best talent. On the other hand, when an organization offers workforce flexibility, it distinguishes them as ‘Employer of choice’ because qualified candidates like to work with the agile organizations that offer a great degree of independence.
When the recruitment is turned into a global affair, getting the positions filled with the right talent regardless of location takes much less time. The reduced HR efforts can be invested in some other productive tasks that positively impact the bottom line.
Meet the global demands
The workforce flexibility brings diversity in the organization where the workforce of diverse ethnic backgrounds, gender, social status, generations, religions, and geographic nations work together. It means the talent pool becomes global, instead of local or regional that can build productive relationships through telecommuting tools.
With business globalization, there is a dire need for employees who can work according to the client’s time zone. When the employees get the flexibility to work or attend conference calls from home, working outside the non-traditional hours becomes viable, which further helps in meeting the business needs and don’t burn out the employees. Using webinar technology and establishing a secure connection, the documents can be easily accessed and shared.
Moreover, the global workforce can better understand the region-specific projects and include the rich insights into the project to make it a big hit. It increases the level of involvement and the efficiency at which the employees work.
Increase the morale
The flexible work options hand over greater control in the hands of employees to work according to the preferred schedule and location. This independence lets them better manage the work, and make the decisions so that they can work productively. Even, in instances of bad weather, flu, or other disruptions, the employees can continue the work that makes them feel loyal to the company.
The improved control over lives and work don’t make the employees realize that the company is imposing on them. On the flip side, they feel valued and treated with respect, which boosts confidence, strengthens the trust in the company, and makes them something return to the company. The higher morale leads to little-to-none absenteeism, reduced turnover, and increased investment in the work.
Inside the office buildings, the stagnation can set and employees started feeling stressed as the time of leaving the office comes nearby. Making such employees work outside the working hours is impossible and even if superiors manage them to work, then making them perform to the highest efficiency is impossible. That’s not the case with a flexible workforce.
It won’t be an overstatement to state that flexible employees work on the project round the clock. They have an active life and truly engaged with the project that appeals to an entrepreneurial spirit in them. This is why they are ready to work overtime without extra compensation and add valuable insights and inspiration to the project. It’s a sign the employees getting flexibility options don’t leave behind the job when their shift is over.
The prime reason for employee turnover is a failure in striking a balance between job requirements and personal life needs which arises generally due to the strict office timings. The organizations are largely suffering from the issue as less number of employees likely joining and staying with the organization for the long-term. The increased cost-to-hire and project left in the middle are the negative outcomes of it.
With workforce flexibility, the employees experience a good number of benefits such as they can take yoga class for better health and well-being; give time to their family, meet personal obligations and life responsibilities that lower down work interference with family; work when they feel fresh and enjoying that diminishes the work stress, and pretty more. Conclusively, flexible work configurations end up the work-family conflicts and increase job satisfaction, improve performance, and minimize the turnover intention.
The office commutes not just eat up the money and time, but the employees’ mind as well before they come to the office because we all know how awesome is the traffic and stress during rush hours in the urban cities. With a flexible schedule, all the expenses become zero. Instead, the employees get extra time and dollars that they can spend in non-work activities which are difficult to complete.
The goal of ‘Go green’ can be achieved as there will be fewer cars on the road with decreased fuel consumption and incidences of accidents. It surges the employees’ engagement as they will be able to work more with no time wastage in commutes.
Wrapping it up
Millennials entry in the workforce has driven in the concept of workforce flexibility, which has later become a strategic move for talent management (Attract, engage, and retain the talent), meeting globalization needs, enhancing productivity, bringing work-life balance, improving customer service, and cost-saving with good ROI.
There are ample of progressive organizations such as Unilever, Microsoft, DELL, and Virgin that are advocating the flexible workforce and enjoying the advantages of flexibility in abundance.
However, there is a caveat, managing the remote workforce who work according to their schedule and ensuring the employees are just working on the project during working hours is a little tricky. But, the challenges outweighs the opportunities and benefits that are linked with flexibility. The result? The managers’ job will get difficult but the output is worth it.
So make your managers and employees view flexibility as a mutually beneficial process, which in turn, makes the organization successful.