The Future is Flexible: How to Implement Flexibility in Your Workplace

Tuesday October 30th, 2018

By now you’ve surely noticed the trend of flexible scheduling in business. Companies all over the world are changing the way the workday looks – some by condensing their work hours, some by relaxing on the rules for time off and others by not making it mandatory to work in the office.

A recent study by Zenefits showed that 44% of workers involved in the study said workplace flexibility would factor heavily into how they chose their next job. It is clear that the future is flexible and job seekers are looking for companies who have embraced the trend.

Flexibility in the workplace can increase productivity as well as improve overall satisfaction among employees in their work. It creates a less stressful atmosphere and allows employees to do their best work in a timeline and environment that best suits their needs.

But flexible work schedules may not be for everyone. How do you know if your company can sustain such a change? Before you make the leap, it’s important to ask the following questions to see if your company is ready for a bit more flexibility.

What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?

The first question you need to ask and answer before moving towards a flexible work schedule is what problem does this change resolve? In asking this question, you are establishing whether or not a flexible schedule or location will solve more problems than it creates.

Are your employees burned out? Are they struggling to balance work life with their personal lives because of a lengthy commute? Is productivity suffering?

These are all questions you’ll want to address first and foremost. Evaluate the company as is to see where the problem areas lie. If everything is running smoothly and your employees are satisfied in their work, then perhaps your company is just not ready for such a big change to operating procedures. And that’s okay. But the conversation is worth having to evaluate and address the needs of your team and your company.

What Do Your Employees Want?

You can’t have a conversation about making major changes to the way your company operates without including your employees. You may see things running smoothly and deadlines being met, but that doesn’t mean your employees are satisfied in their work or that they are not feeling burnt out.

Make good use of the insights of your team, as they have a front row seat to observe the inner workings of the team in a way that you as a leader do not. Everyone puts their best foot forward when the boss is around, but there may be many private conversations about stress and dissatisfaction to which you are not privy.

What is Feasible for Your Company?

Perhaps the most important factor in the discussion of making changes to a more flexible workplace is understanding what your company can actually manage. Here are some questions you should ask in order to establish what your company is prepared for:

  • How will we evaluate performance for remote workers?
  • How will we maintain open communication with remote workers?
  • How will flexible work hours impact the service we provide to our customers?
  • How will flex time off impact the team?
  • How does a flexible work schedule change the way management functions?
  • Are there extra costs associated with flexible work schedules and locations?
  • How will the company culture be impacted by a flexible work schedule?

Asking and answering these questions gives you an opportunity to map out what a flexible workplace might look like within your company before implementing it. Take into consideration the input of your employees and the problems you previously addressed while asking these additional questions.

Flexible work schedules are not a one-size-fits-all remedy for every company. There is no blueprint to follow and it is really up to you as a leader in your company to establish what level of flexibility is feasible and beneficial for your team. As the trend of flexible work schedules continues to gain popularity in the workplace, it’s important to have the conversations that could lead your company to join the trend.

This article was tagged with: flexibility, workplace, flexible