A flexible work environment is not a new concept. It’s been around for decades and has steadily gained popularity in recent years.
Due to the current situation, more companies are adopting flexible working policies that allow employees to control how and when they work.
In this article, let’s look into flexible working – why it’s become so popular, what its benefits are, and how businesses can transition from traditional workplace structures to flexible ones to meet the needs of their customers and employees.
What Is Meant by Flexible Working?
Flexible working is when staff can work from home, late at night or early in the morning. You might be surprised to learn that flexible working has been shown to affect employee performance and well-being positively.
What Are the Benefits of Flexible Working?
Transitioning from office work to flexible working may be a massive leap for some. However, for those resistant to the idea of working flexibly, below are reasons why eligible employees should consider the option of flexible work:
One of the new ways that people work is flexibility. This means you can be at home, in a café, or an office but still get your job done and not feel like you’ve left it behind. This flexible working is not just for freelancers, but also employees. It’s a time-saving device that gives the option to go in late or leave early without feeling like you’ve abandoned your work behind.
A flexible workplace can help improve productivity because people can be more focused when they’re at home and have space for themselves.
Your productivity can help you land a side hustle or two like food delivery services.
Opportunity for Work-Life Balance
Flexible work schedules pave the way for improved work-life balance. It gives you freedom and control over your schedule, enabling you to do more of the things that matter most to you.
Imagine this: You wake up, take a shower, and head on to your home office, where you can start work minutes after waking up. Even better, you can bring your laptop anywhere and work anywhere you want, anytime.
And once you’re done with work, you can set the laptop aside, head on down to your living room, and spend the remainder of the day with family obligations. You don’t have to worry about traveling from home to work and back for hours!
Gives You a Choice
Flexible scheduling is also about giving people more choice over how they work. Flexible working can bring considerable benefits to those who are remotely located or for people with disabilities. Flexible working is also beneficial for employing a diverse workforce by allowing more women and older workers flexible hours.
Remote Working as Selling Point for Recruitment and Retention Efforts
Some of the most talented employees want to work for a company that affords them flexibility in their work. So, instead of letting them walk as your competitors hire them, you can use remote work as a perk to get them on board your company.
Including this in your job offer to these employees should help you land more talented people in your team.
Disadvantages of Flexible Working
While flexible work arrangements have benefits, they also present challenges to some. Therefore, in the spirit of fairness, below are work from home challenges some people may experience while working flexibly:
One of the cons about working from home is that it can be isolating and lonely. This is true, especially if you live alone and your social interaction is limited to video calls and online chat. However, there’s still no replacement for some working with people face-to-face and the camaraderie that comes with it.
For instance, flexible working for people working in creative fields like art and design can be limiting because it means they might miss out on a lot of critical feedback from their peers.
Less Structure for Work Responsibilities
The lack of a structure can make it hard to keep track of work, especially if you’re prone to procrastination.
Say what you want about fixed business hours working at an office. But the argument some people make is that it provides them a rigid structure that allows them to focus during this time.
Therefore, even if there are systems in place to track your progress and productivity, the temptation of relaxing and taking it easy since you’re at home is higher as opposed to working in a structured environment that an office offers.
What Are Examples of Flexible Work Arrangements?
Keep in mind that not one hybrid workplace model is perfect. The great thing about flexible work is there are different ways you can approach it.
Find the best set-up for you allows you to enjoy the benefits of working flexibly. Below are the different examples:
Telecommuting is defined as working from home rather than going to work. This means that you can do your job remotely and not physically be in the office with your team members.
You will often still have a home office setup, but sometimes you may work at different coffee shops or libraries.
Telecommuting is gaining popularity because it allows for flexible hours and locations while also being cost-effective to businesses. However, it can be difficult for some people with children who are homeschooled.
Flexible working is when you don’t go to the office every day. Instead, you can work from home or on a different site like a coworking space. Because it’s flexible, you can also choose when you want to work part-time hours — on a flexible schedule.
If you work from home, for example, you can go to the office every day or not at all if it’s inconvenient. You also don’t need to commute and worry about parking spaces. Plus, when you’re working from home, you might have more time with your family because there are fewer distractions.
Job sharing is a flexible working pattern that involves two or more employees sharing one full-time position. It has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to traditional full-time and part-time work arrangements.
This flexible work arrangement is beneficial for both employers and employees. Those who choose to work can spend more time with their families, maintain a healthy balance between professional life and personal life, and start businesses on the side while still being full-time employed elsewhere.
Flexible working hours are when employees can pick their work times. This means that people can come in earlier or later than usual, take time off for short periods during the day, and even move to a different office while still being paid for the same hours.
The flexible work schedule has been around for decades, but it was never truly embraced by employees, managers, or companies. Now that technology allows us to be connected 24/365 through emails and applications like Slack (a messaging system), remote workers are now integrated into office life seamlessly.
Compressed Work Weeks
People under this flexible working arrangement work fewer than five days, but the core hours remain the same. It’s up to the company or employee on how to compress the 40 hours within the week.
This is ideal because they can increase the number of days off in a week while producing the same amount of output as employees in a full-time position.
Convincing Your Company to Provide the Option for Flexible Work
Whether you’re an employee or an employer in the organization, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t offer flexible work to people interested in taking you on. Below are possible ways that you, as a collective, must do in a concerted effort to convince higher-ups that flexible work is the way to move forward.
Perform Company-Specific Research
While we’ve already mentioned the pros and cons above, you might want to look into more significant details of other advantages and disadvantages that flexible working brings specifically to your industry.
From here, you should look into how similar organizations implement flexible work into their workflow. Research about the guidelines and systems they have in place about proceeding with a flexible working request and the rules employees must follow while working away from the office.
The most important thing to achieve here is fairness to all – only certain employees will be granted flexible working options, so concessions must be made for people working in the office.
Also, look at the tools and resources they’re using to transition workers into a more remote workspace. Since people will be working at different locations simultaneously, you need to set up an effective collaboration to keep the engine going.
For example, you must find alternatives to emails because waiting for email replies from people is not an effective form of communication among flexible workers. Instead, consider using a messenger tool like Google ChatBots to automate some of your processes and discuss work with other employees. Another tool you should consider using is video presentation creation.
Some organizations use time-tracking and screen capture tools to monitor employees away from the office. Whether this works or doesn’t depends on various factors, so you need to know what’s best for everyone involved. Other apps you should consider are mac screen recorder and windows screen recorder.
Require All Employees to Undergo Training
Everybody must undergo remote onboarding & training regarding flexible working. Even if they’re not interested in working away from the office, it’s in everybody’s interest to stay informed with flexible working as a whole. At the very least, they can genuinely decide whether to take up the flexible work program or not.
Aside from seminars or virtual events they must attend, you can have the option to give access to all your resources about the training so they can browse through the materials at their convenience.
Monitor the Results of your Flexible Work Options
One of the worries of companies regarding flexible working is the inability to maintain control leading to lower productivity and results. However, with a robust system in place, these worries will be busted as everybody’s productivity soars because they are happy with their working arrangements.
But to achieve this, you need to stay on top of how the program is working overtime. Establish KPIs and metrics on how the program will be evaluated over time. This allows everybody involved in the program to remain accountable and sell the idea of flexible working to your higher-ups. At the same time, use this to encourage employees with help from a customer success team.
Organizations need to start embracing flexible work as a norm to get the most out of their workforce and be competitive in today’s market. Many employers are now looking for employees who can do their job from anywhere with an internet connection because it provides greater flexibility than being chained down by one location. So take a leap, and don’t let outdated office space ideas stand between you and success!
Coworker offers to help you find the best and furnished co-working spaces nationwide near major population centers such as Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, or New York City Metro area. This way, you can get your flexible work done in state-of-the-art offices close to home.