Workplace flexibility is the ability to respond to changing expectations and circumstances. Employers who cultivate a flexible working environment are more attractive to employees. A flexible workplace can meet the needs of both employers and employees. It can help employers meet their goals due to increased productivity, and it can enhance the work/life balance for employees, leading to greater satisfaction and retention. Here are 7 of the key factors companies must consider when they want to create a flexible workplace.
1. Planning for flexibility
A flexible workspace should be designed to meet employees’ diverse needs and support different types of work and activities. This can be achieved through careful planning and a thorough understanding of the organization’s goals and the workforce’s specific needs. Desk divider screens can be an effective way to create privacy and reduce distractions in a flexible workplace, and they can be used to separate individual workspaces within an open-plan environment while still allowing for natural light and a sense of connection to the rest of the space. This is why it is so important to carefully plan what a flexible workplace will look like. It’s important to evaluate company needs, and employee wants.
For those looking for office space in Boston, there are many innovative workspaces that include private offices and co-working spaces to suit all kinds of work styles and purposes. Employees can collaborate on a project in the project space and move to other work areas as per their schedule.
2. Technology infrastructure
New flexible workspaces need the technology infrastructure to support them. This may mean more meeting rooms with audio-visual setups to support video conferencing. It may mean better Wi-Fi coverage, so employees don’t face dead zones.
Companies need to assess how far along they are in terms of digital transformation and where their workplace fits into that timeline. They need to create guidelines to manage aspects such as email response times, the use of project management tools, the use of smartphones supplied by the company etc. They can leverage document sharing programs such as Dropbox and Google Docs so employees can share files and track work status.
3. Employee productivity
When deciding whether to have a flexible workplace, it is important to evaluate whether it’s possible to measure the productivity of employees based on outcomes. Evaluating outcomes and tangible results can open up many avenues to provide flexibility.
Every decision needs to be made according to what suits employees, from the types of devices they use to how they want to use the office. Businesses need to coach employees, host workshops and offer self-service support so that employees can get the most out of apps and services.
4. Flexible working policies
Employers who offer flexible working policies experience increased employee retention, loyalty, productivity and engagement, which contributes to their bottom line. HR needs to communicate with employees who want flexible working arrangements. This may be a request to work remotely, choose their working hours or reduce their hours.
HR needs to make sure that employees know what’s expected of them when it comes to flexible working policies. A flextime policy allows employees to stagger arrival and departure times as necessary. Telecommuting allows employees to work from elsewhere and come into the office semi-regularly. Companies should be open to implementing flexible work policies as long as they align with their mission, vision and culture.
5. Business scalability
Companies can’t afford to set precedents that they cannot honor going forwards. They need to continue to operate efficiently and scale their businesses. Every decision or change they make can have a knock-on effect, so they need to be fully aware of the broader consequences of any change.
Change is inevitable but making the right changes is essential. Workspaces and policies must align with business objectives and be able to scale as a business grows and changes. For example, a coworking space offers the opportunity.
6. Recruiting and retention
A flexible workspace can help to attract talent and ensure employee retention (also check this link to learn more about ERC credit). Companies that don’t offer flexible workspaces may find that they battle to recruit top employees and even lose employees to other companies that do offer them. It’s important to have realistic expectations of employees and not expect them to be available day and night, as this could backfire and hinder productivity.
7. Feedback from employees
In a competitive job market, it’s important to receive feedback from employees and make modifications if necessary. A flexibility initiative should never remain static. Regular tweaks can protect against productivity issues due to unaddressed problems that may arise. Receiving regular input from employees allows companies to give them the tools and support they need to get the job done.
*Do you work for a company that has a flexible work environment? Let us know in the comments below!