The importance of workplace flexibility in a modern organisation – It’s the latest corporate trend!
The COVID-19 pandemic is almost under control, and the lessons it taught have helped the world to see things from a different angle. People were quick to embrace new normalcy, and this affected the way of doing business for many business organisations across the world. Businesses that only followed traditional procedures shifted towards modern techniques and this created both opportunities and threats for them.
Workplace flexibility was one of the most common practices that many business organisations adopted when the pandemic hit the world. Due to the risk of spreading the virus, restrictions were implemented to minimise community gatherings and the use of public transport, so the business organisations decided to introduce workplace flexibility in different forms. The decade-old concept of 9 to 5 working shifts was then replaced by the novel concept of flexible workplaces.
Under the concept of workplace flexibility, employees are given the chance to perform their job roles in a way that suits their lifestyles. This concept well understands the simple truth that employees’ best (the optimum) always depends on individual circumstances and that being stuck within a prescribed timeframe (or environment) will only hinder their performance.
This concept, of course, created a new business culture. This culture believes that what’s important and relevant is getting the work successfully done, and not completing the number of working hours prescribed by the authorities.
Currently, there are many arrangements that organisations have done in order to facilitate workplace flexibility. Some of them can be listed as follows:
1. Offering flexible work shifts
Under this approach, employees don’t need to report to the office throughout the week. Instead, they can choose the 2-3 days on which they will attend the office and opt to work from home on the rest of the days.
2. Offering the option to work remotely
This is also known as telecommuting. With the COVID-19 outburst, companies allowed their staff to work from home, and this started becoming a global trend. Today, companies allow their employees to work from anywhere and they believe employees are happier and more productive under this approach.
3. Offering flexibility in arrival and departure times
Here, the employee doesn’t have to work within the prescribed working hours (eg- 9 am to 5 pm). Instead, the employee can cover the eight hours as he/she wishes. This is a great method, especially for those employees who have responsibilities outside the office. (eg- pick up the kids from school, take the parents to the doctor’s appointment etc.)
4. Facilitating part-time employment and job sharing
Working on a part-time basis is a great relief for an individual who has more personal commitments. The part-time employee then gets paid upon the jobs he/she finishes, but is not at all bound to other company obligations like a general employee would do. Job-sharing is also a similar concept where two or more non-permanent employees share the scope of one full-time employment position.
In addition, granting family/medical leaves (paid) and caregiving leaves are also considered flexible arrangements. Some companies reward their employees for adding constructive/creative ideas while some others get employees involved in their decision-making process. This suggests that work flexibility, today, is not just about where you work and your working hours, but also about the management styles, sharing powers, and many more.
How does workplace flexibility impact positively for the employer?
1. Work flexibility helps in talent acquisition
Job seekers nowadays look for flexible jobs. Telecommuting and part-time employment opportunities are preferred by job seekers today, and they try to avoid applying to companies that have rigid structures.
2. Work flexibility helps increase employee motivation
Employees feel motivated when they know they have freedom in the environment they work in. This also helps to increase the productivity levels of organisations and that suggests increased revenue and profits.
It’s just a myth that employees tend to ignore their workloads in flexible working nvironments. If the company has a good project manager who has done PRINCE2 Foundation Training & Certification, he/she knows how every project should be managed and how the maximum contribution has to be taken from each team member- regardless of where that team member works from.
3. Work flexibility showcases the trust that the company has in the employees
As mentioned above, in a flexible work environment, the employee is 100% free. Employees know that their company trusts them and that they need to give their best for the upliftment of the company.
Benefits of PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification for a good project manager also include the knowledge of 360-degree monitoring and evaluation of any project. So, if by any chance, this trust gets misused by the employees, the project managers can detect them at the very initial stages.
How does workplace flexibility impact positively for the employee?
1. Work flexibility decreases stress levels
Everyone has commitments in their lives. Some employees try to balance their academic commitments with their jobs, while some others try to balance their personal life commitments with their jobs. When this does not happen, employees get stressed.
Workplace flexibility offers a sound work-life balance for the employee. With this new culture, they now don’t need to choose between their job and their personal lives.
2. Work flexibility enhances job satisfaction
It’s a general management theory that when an employee is stress-free, he/she is happy and feels rewarded. This is key to job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction is a crucial element for retaining the workforce of a company. Also, when an employee is satisfied with the employment and the organisation, he/she tends to give nothing less than the best to the organisation.
How to create a flexible working environment in an organisation?
The first and foremost requisite for workplace flexibility is a powerful communication solution. There are many cloud-based solutions and even mobile apps that support communication functions and these can be effectively used in flexible working environments.
Since project managers play an important role here at organisations when offering workplace flexibility, company owners should invest in the training and development of the project management team. They should seek PRINCE2 Information & Course details and let the project managers have the best industry knowledge. If project management goes wrong in a flexible work environment, that can break the company and its reputation as well.