Flexible Work Arrangements: Why More Companies Are Moving to It
As many didn’t know aboutuntil 2020, were also pretty low profile until the Coronavirus. They were usually limited to part-time positions or for working mothers.
As many organizations were forced to go remote, many have been converted to the benefits of allowing employees to choose when, where, and how they want to Unilever and even countries like Spain implementing a 4-day . . Things have even gone a step further by companies like
If there is anything that has taught us, empowering employees to complete their tasks without commuting or clocking in 8 hours every day has increased productivity, mental health, and physical well-being.
So, let’s dive into the many reasons why companies are implementing more .
What are ?
The term means letting employees choose their preferred working style. It includes:
- Scheduling and hours worked
- PTO and vacation policies
- Dress code
- Extended Leave
The is accommodating and empowering the to do their best . You might have a combination of different arrangements or just flexibly 6 am-2 pm Monday, Tuesday so you can pick up your kids after football practice in the afternoons.
Scheduling your hours and days comes down to , compressing the , and shifts, , and . Like in the example above, this is great for parents, and keeps women in the workforce.
A from home or anywhere else in the world. It is measured more on output-based (instead of time-based). At this point, over a quarter of the workforce wants to continue remote. is the choice to
PTO or paid time off can be rather complex as well. There are unlimited, flexible, or floating PTO and vacation policies. These policies allow employees to take paid vacation days, personal days, or sick leave days at an (and in some cases, as much as they wish.)
The dress code at this point is getting to a non-issue in the workplace, but it will see a resurgence as people decide on the appropriate outfit to wear after months in quarantine. All jokes aside, the casual dress code of startups has seemed to have impacted most corporate environments.
Extended leave can be anything from maternity leave to a sabbatical. It really depends on what the company prioritizes as days employees should be compensated while not physically working. Right now, many companies are implementing paid mental health days for employees to recharge from stressful weeks.
What good do these policies or agreements bring to and company growth?
According to research by Citrix, companies that have can save up to $20,000 per per year. It also increases productivity by 27%!
When comparing two groups, ones with American Sociological Review, employees who were randomly given an “experimental” schedule gave them lots of fared better overall, both at and at home.schedules and ones without, some exciting trends develop. In a recent study conducted by the
The study concluded that the with a slept better, felt healthier, and reported experiencing less stress. In addition, the research went on for three years, and the flex employees at the end were much more interested in staying with the organization over the long term.
You even had Mark Zuckerberg announce that the allowed by gave him more personal happiness and time to spend with his family. This was the primary motivator for Facebook implementing a fifty-fifty model. 50% of the year remote, and 50% of the year in a hybrid model.
Then you have the environmental benefits. If half the U.S worked remotely for half the year, that would be the same as taking 10 million cars permanently off the road. In addition, energy costs for employers with decrease by 18%.
Why are some companies pushing back?
With all these benefits, why is there resistance from some leaders and companies about giving a beyond the pandemic? Why are some companies like Apple requiring mandatory office days?
Some of it may be due to old-school thinking where managers feel the need to monitor employees to make sure they are getting all their done. Some people may have missed this level of control during the pandemic and feel that productivity has slipped only because they can’t see everything being done.
Another theory is the generational gap. HubSpot reports 45% of millennials would choose over pay any day of the week. If almost half of the millennials want it, GenZers are probably not far behind.
Once you move up to the baby boomer and gen x generations, the demand begins to wane because was always seen as a perk.
Many in this age range in upper management clamor to return to the normal they once knew and not waste the money they invested in office spaces.
This is more prevalent in older industries or companies, but significant gaps may emerge between rigid and flexible organizations as time goes on.
Why are more companies seeing the value of benefits?
To make it as evident as possible, here is a quote of someone on LinkedIn who recently joined a company that offers arrangements:
“On joining x company, I was excited to join a team known for its entrepreneurial spirit. I purposefully sought out a company where I knew I would feel empowered, motivated, and capable of driving projects end to end. I like the logistics management of fitting pieces of the puzzle together and coordinating with different people to accomplish a common goal. I love pulling a plan together and watching it be executed. Now that we’ve switched to , I also enjoy having in my schedule. As a busy mom with two young children, even though I a lot, I am able to arrange my time so that I can still pick my kids up from school, take them to their activities, and get dinner started.”
Companies realize that offering brings in a positive brand perspective for prospective employees. This is the main driving force for growing companies that have been scaling fast during the pandemic and are highly optimistic about this year as re-openings accelerate.
It comes down to winning the war on talent as there are fewer people for highly skilled positions, and just in April this year, 4 million people quit their jobs. The pandemic gave people the ability to improve personally and professionally and now dare to pursue careers they are passionate about.
A great hiring restructuring is taking place, but the results have shown that the companies that innovate the most have three common factors:
- A gender and culturally diverse workforce
- A young talent pipeline with in-house training and advancement
- Highly motivated and engaged employees
gender-equal employment base by offering flexible schedules to both working mothers and working fathers. Generous PTO or maternity leave also helps in instilling a gender-inclusive brand image. allow for a more
more equitable working environment for minorities in their base of operations. options like allow companies to recruit top talent from other countries while providing a
You are avoiding many of the micro-aggressions that can take place in an office environment and eliminating many of the preconceived biases in the recruitment process.
As we mentioned before, the younger generation ranks options as one of the main deciding factors for selecting a position.
In a study by Zenefits, they found that from 18-24 rate was as important to them as pay rate or health benefits (55%).
Therefore, these arrangements will be necessary for attracting young college graduates and having them stick with the company to improve their skills and grow.
Finally, in that same study, employees report being more motivated for options. This automatically translates to employees who are more productive and less likely to leave for another position. , have a better -life balance, and engaged when given
When you have employees who are completing tasks rapidly and are committed to their organization’s growth, then the logical conclusion is success.
The Zenefits survey found that 71% of employees reported their company offering at least one even before the pandemic.
Some notable companies and industries that are offering a variety of options are:
- American Express- 50,000 global workforce offers contract, part-time, full-time, and from home if you’re a parent, you live a long distance from the office, or if unexpected events occur. opportunities, plus many positions include the ability to
- Automattic- The company has a popular -from-anywhere policy and gave their employees a $250 home office stipend at the start of the pandemic.
- Dell- Employees can part of the year or all of the time remotely. 60% of its global workforce is now taking advantage of .
- UnitedHealth Group- Flexible and remote working is available to more than 25% of its new openings.
Industries opening up to more
A great example of a policy is of the Australian company NBNCO. They offer over five different working arrangements to all of their employees.
Before requesting a option, employees have to consider how it might affect their current position. Once their manager approves it, they get placed in a three-week trial period.
If an ’s excels, they can stay in that arrangement for as long as they like. If their begins to fall, they will have a meeting with their manager to discuss adjusting the arrangement.
Right now, Flexjobs reports that 80% of companies offer both informal and formal arrangements. While USA Today reports, the figure is closer to 57% for formal flexible schedules.
Regardless, Bill gates said all the way back in 2019 that organizations that offer flexible working will always be on the edge of innovation.
best practices and challenges
The best practice for implementing policies in your organization is to formalize everything. Keep an online record of the policy that everyone knows where it is and how to access it. This way, there is no confusion on what employees can or cannot do or ideas of preference.
There should also be training for managers on managing remote employees or those with flexible hours/ time zone differences.
If anyone is struggling with a specific , the best course of action is to address the issue individually and not revoke the entire benefit. If there is no evidence of benefits, the policy should be revoked over time.
This way, you can avoid the many challenges that can occur with these arrangements, such as:
- Programs that aren’t relevant to ' real needs and preferences.
- Creating a segment of that aren’t treated the same or have the same advancement opportunities as employees who in the office or standard hours.
- Not communicating broadly enough the benefits of and people thinking they may lose status if they take advantage of them.
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