Flexibility is key to employee happiness: Here's how to make it work

24 June 2021

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As the Covid-19 compelled many of us to work from home, remote working has been hogging the limelight these past two years, giving us a taste of the many benefits that remote working has to offer. If the lockdown taught us anything, it’s that the flexibility of remote work has resulted in a happier, more productive staff.

The continuous strive to steer away from the traditional 9 to 5 office structure that controls an employee's location, added emphasis on coworking spaces, and toward a modern workplace model that promotes employee satisfaction and productivity is ideal. 

And it isn't only for the employees. Employers will also benefit from this shift in working culture. That's because employee flexibility and happiness are the driving forces behind so many other great results that positively contribute to the company's bottom line.

More and more businesses realize the value of job satisfaction, and it is quickly becoming a crucial factor for job searchers worldwide. Let's see how workplace flexibility affects and improves overall work-life balance, as well as the advantages of implementing flexible scheduling in your business.

What Is Flexibility In The Workplace?

Workplace flexibility is being able to adjust to new situations as they emerge swiftly. Flexible employees can modify their plans to manage or overcome unforeseen hurdles. Employers may foster this thinking style by allowing workers to choose how they work, including their own schedules and work locations, which can be supported through flexible offices. 

A flexible workplace recognizes that how and when its workers work best may differ based on their unique circumstances. The key point is to get the task done well, not that it should be completed within a specific timeline or setting. A solid work-life balance is vital for both employees and bosses. And that doesn't just mean working remote; flexibility may also include the following:

  • fewer but more structured meetings
  • flexible arrival and departure times
  • sabbaticals or career breaks
  • Commissioned outcomes
  • Caregiving leave
  • Job-sharing
  • A trust-based approach to rules and restrictions

Giving employees flexible options boosts productivity by minimizing the conflict between workday needs and employees' personal lives outside of work. It promotes excellent work by allowing people to work with fewer interruptions and/or under less pressure from conflicting responsibilities.

Benefits of Workplace Flexibility

Only a few years ago, the notion of workplace flexibility was never even spoken of in the corporate world. Nowadays, flexibility is a prerequisite for a well-functioning workplace, becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. Aside from the salary, a flexible work environment is one of the first things a job applicant seeks in today's market, which is unsurprising. With cloud-based tools, real-time collaboration platforms, team messaging apps, and sophisticated video conferencing, technological advancements have long paved the path for the remote worker to achieve everything from a distance.

Having said that, here are five benefits that employees and employers alike can accrue from a flexible workplace:

Increased productivity

Traditional office culture perpetuates the notion that our most productive hours are from 9 to 5. While this schedule may work for a portion of the population, at least half of us function on an entirely different productivity period - most of which is determined by our circadian rhythms.

Allowing employees to choose their own hours has resulted in increased productivity for several companies. Losing early morning sleep has been related to poor memory recall, difficulty concentrating, poor communication, and decreased productivity. Aside from the cognitive challenges, it is also costly for businesses: In a survey of four big US corporations, researchers discovered that inadequate sleep costs businesses about $ $2,280 per employee each year.

Companies like Google and Amazon, for example, allow employees to schedule their work hours to correspond with their circadian rhythms. Employees are even encouraged to take cat naps during the day, with "nap pods" strategically placed around company offices. Apart from established meeting times, the staff is free to organize their days as they see fit. If they're tired after lunch and need sleep, they are highly encouraged to do so.

Improved work-life balance

Achieving perfect harmony and a fulfilling balance between your job and personal life is difficult for many people. Dividing time and energy between the two can be a significant hurdle, made much more difficult by daily activities such as long commutes, family obligations, or working different hours with your partner. But when the workplace is flexible, employees feel they have more freedom to perform job duties and attend to their commitments outside of the office.

According to a recent study, flexible working hours pave the way to higher organization profitability and productivity. Compare the salary of companies that offer flex work and those that don't. You'll immediately notice that those who do are more likely to pay their employees higher wages. Additionally, a flexible working place encourages and enables work-life balance, which in turn reduces stress and increases employee wellbeing and satisfaction.

Increased employee retention

The influence on employee retention rates is arguably the most important incentive for companies to provide flexible working alternatives. Employers should consider flex working as an important component of their staff retention strategy as well as a tool to boost motivation and productivity. If effectively integrated with other company processes, flexible working should result in a more appealing workplace dominated by a culture of trust and cooperation while still respecting employees' requirements and preferences.

According to Flexjobs, 30% of respondents said they left the job because it did not provide flexible work choices and are currently searching for a new job. Eighty percent stated they would be more loyal to their companies if they offered them more flexible work alternatives.

More effective communication

It may surprise you, but communication is considerably more effective when an employee works from home or on a flexible schedule. Thanks to frequent coffee breaks and idle chit-chat, there's a startling amount of time wasted at the office.

The Covid-19 has resulted in the widespread use of workflow management software solutions. While these apps existed prior to the pandemic, the work-from-home regulations made them much more indispensable to keep projects and teamwork moving.

Flexible and remote employees are considerably more likely to use these platforms to communicate with colleagues than those who have a strict schedule in the office. Team communication becomes much more streamlined and efficient by using such platforms, saving everyone time and energy.

More and more companies realize the value of job satisfaction, and it is quickly becoming a crucial factor for job searchers all around the world. They have discovered that the solution to creating a happy but productive workforce is to embrace a more flexible approach and establish an atmosphere that allows employees to complete tasks in the manner that best suits their own unique working style.

For Paylab, Amelia Johenson

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