Off late, I often hear the phrase “ Data is the New Oil”. While I was wondering what could be a similar statement when it came to my area of work (Recruiting), the only thing which struck me was flexibility at the workplace. “Flexibility is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal” and can help you win the Talent War. Not sure how many of you would agree, but 8 out of 10 candidates I speak with emphasis on flexibility at the workplace. I further validated this data by asking job seekers in our database to fill out a survey on top benefits they look for in a new job and surprisingly, two-thirds of the respondents chose flexibility.
I also noticed that more than 60% of the Jobs posted on leading job boards, including Naukri.com and LinkedIn, mentions Flexibility or Work-Life Balance. This trend has picked up over the last 18 months.
Often considered a liberal perk, flexible work — where employees choose their work hours or work remotely for better work-life balance — has taken on new meaning and relevance. More companies are implementing policies that provide employees with flexible work environments.
Flexible work can come in many different shapes to fit your company’s needs.
- Remote — working from anywhere, anytime.
- Location and work hours variety — based out of a company office, but can work at a location of their choosing for a few days in a week.
- Abandoning Attendance/Leave Tracking — I hear from many start-ups that they do not have a leave policy, nor do they track attendance of their employees.
- Unconventional hours — shifting the workday to optimise productivity and performance, such as avoiding rush hour commutes.
- Minimal travel — utilising virtual meetings to minimise travel requirements.
- Reduced workload — finding someone with the skills necessary to efficiently meet performance objectives on a reduced hours schedule.
How Flexible work benefits employers?
Flexible work environments don’t just benefit employees. It’s the winning talent strategy of the future, slated to help employers in the following five impactful ways:
- Attracting Talent:
Many professionals are precisely looking for Flexible work options.
- Employee Productivity and Retention:
Another benefit of flexible work is that it increases productivity and retention — what’s right for employees is good for business too. According to a recent study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, employees who had the flexibility to work outside the office showed a significant impact on productivity. The group that operated outside of the office had a “massive” performance improvement of 13%, and resignations among this group dropped by 50%.
- Diversity & Inclusion:
Flexible work opens your talent net even more extensive. The gender diversity gap can be bridged as well — we found that women are 40% more likely than men to cite flexible work arrangements as a significant factor when considering a job, with women ages 32 to 45 being most likely to do so.
- Employer Brand:
Strong, flexible work policies can be a real differentiator when it comes to brand awareness. With employers struggling to fill open jobs, flexibility may be just what it takes to set your company apart from the competition.
- Cost Savings:
Along with improving retention and talent acquisition, flexible work can significantly reduce a company’s real estate costs.
Get ready to get flexible
If you’re seriously thinking about implementing a flexible work program at your company, you’ve already won half the battle. Meaning, to get this right, it requires accepting that flexible work is a real possibility, can provide myriad benefits, and is an arrangement that requires thoughtful policies. It’s more than giving your staff a random half-day off on a Friday every once in a while.
Begin the process by seeking employee input and feedback to learn what kinds of flexibility they would value. As you flesh out what a policy would look like for your company, strive to partner with not only HR but other teams like IT and facilities. Orient your leadership and make them practice and preach flexibility. Ensure that your employees are supported both on and off the jobsite. Leverage technology like instant messaging and video conferencing to help everyone stay connected and productive, no matter where they are. Most importantly, don’t be quiet about it: Shout your flexible work policies from the mountain tops, driving awareness and encouraging employees to use them.
When it comes to flexible work, there’s a broad spectrum of possibilities, and even small changes can cause a positive ripple effect throughout your company and culture.