The chances are that you have heard the phrase “workplace flexibility,” but do you know what it means? According to careers expert Alison Doyle, workspace flexibility is defined as a “strategy of responding to changing circumstances and demands”. From the employer’s perspective, this might mean that you don’t force your employees to work to a rigid set of rules, such as the nine-to-five work schedule. Instead, you give your employees the freedom and autonomy to carry out their work when and how they want.
Workplace flexibility is an important feature that has become even more valuable since the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace flexibility can come with many benefits, including greater productivity, reduced overheads, and greater employee satisfaction. This can be seen in the recent Deloitte Survey, which found workplace flexibility to be one of the main benefits that employees want. As you can see, flexibility is important for the success of your business, but how do you increase your workplace flexibility? Check out our six ways to increase workplace flexibility.
Choose your flexible approach
Regarding workplace flexibility, you might think it involves letting your employees come and go when they want. However, a successful flexible workplace does require structure. The following examples are tried and tested types of flexible work arrangements:
- Flexitime — You give employees the freedom to structure when and for how long they work
- Remote work — Your employees work from home or another location that isn’t the office
- Hybrid work — Your employees work in-office or from a remote location. They also have more flexibility when they choose to work.
- Permanent part-time employee — Your employees work a part-time role that doesn’t require a full-length workweek.
Flexible ways of working are all about finding the right arrangement for each individual and team, which leads us to our next step.
Know your teams
When deciding the type of flexible arrangement you want to adopt for your business, it is essential to understand the teams that make up your business. This is because not all tasks and duties can be completed outside of the office and during the hours of nine to five. Although specific teams may adopt flexible arrangements and others won’t, it is important to still go through the steps to ensure that each employee is being offered as much flexibility as possible.
Furthermore, if you want to offer employees the most flexible workplace, you will need to go beyond teams and focus on each individual. Every employee has different needs, times of optimum productivity, etc. These should be considered.
Encourage personal interests
There is a strong link between workplace flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging your employees to pursue their interests, hobbies, and passions might not help increase workplace flexibility. However, it does help to create a workplace culture that appreciates the healthy work-life balance provided by workplace flexibility.
Invest in the right tools
Implementing a successful flexible workplace strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. Many useful tools and software are available to help productivity, space management, and communication, although you may not be aware of them.
For example, communication software like Slack will enable teams across different locations to communicate effectively. Workplace management software is an effective way of managing your office real estate. Meeting room and desk booking systems enable employees and teams to efficiently use office space to achieve maximum productivity.
Foster an open workplace culture
One of the most important aspects of having a successful flexible workplace is to have an open workplace culture. The best way to do this is by encouraging open communication by every team and individual, no matter where they work. You can do this by providing employees with the time and opportunities to collaborate, share experiences and get to know each other.
Rein in mandatory meetings
Many employers are concerned that if employees work flexibly, they might spend less time working. One way to ensure that employees have enough time for focussed work while also increasing flexibility is by limiting the number of meetings. In-person meetings, in particular, are a hindrance when it comes to promoting a flexible workplace environment. By reducing the number of scheduled commitments, employees can feel more empowered to use their time effectively.