There’s a lot happening right now in the ways that people work, and it’s clear that employee expectations are changing. In particular, employees want to work more flexibly, and according to this article by EY, won’t stick around with an employer that won’t give it to them, and employees are increasingly prioritizing work/life balance, and expect their employers to support their wellbeing.
Both of these factors are driving the move towards flexible work by businesses all over the world. But it’s easy to think that this trend stacks the cards too much in favor of the employee, and that employers don’t really have much to gain from pursuing a flexible work model.
The truth is that, if it’s done right, flexible work really can be transformative for organizations, just as it can be empowering for the workforce.
This blog explores how, and the extent to which the benefits can reach:
A virtuous circle
In our latest eBook on flexible work explores the idea of flexible work being a virtuous circle, where one positive impact generates another, and everyone stands to benefit as flexible work becomes more and more ingrained within a business.
So imagine for a moment that your organization has just introduced a flexible work model, where employees have the choice of where and when they work. You’re at the point where they’re just getting used to the new arrangements, and it’s here where the virtuous circle begins:
- Step 1: Employees feel more satisfied. Having been given more flexibility and choice in how they work, employees feel that their employer values and trusts them, and is happy to support them in working how they want to work.
- Step 2: Satisfied employees are better employees. Employees who feel more comfortable in their working arrangements will be empowered to perform at their best in whichever environment suits them best.
- Step 3: Better employees are more productive employees. Research conducted by the University of Oxford Said Business School has found that happier employees are 13% more productive. Based on an eight-hour working day, that’s equivalent to getting an extra hour of work done.
- Step 4: More productive employees boost profitability and growth. With each employee getting more done each day, they’re better able to support the business’s ambitions to grow and take advantage of new opportunities. It also reduces the number of employees needed to fulfil all of the company’s needs, saving on headcount costs and further improving the bottom line. The circle is completed by employees feeling satisfied that their hard work is making a genuine contribution to a successful organization.
A flexible model everyone can enjoy
As this win-win situation continues over time, the benefits to the company will spread far and wide, and well beyond the better financial outcomes that more productive workers can help deliver. Businesses who hit the sweet spot of a choice-driven flexible work model will also enjoy:
- Stronger employee loyalty: employees who are satisfied in their jobs will be more likely to stick with the employer long-term, improving the experience and expertise within the business, and saving on any training costs associated with frequent employee turnover
- Easier talent acquisition: as word gets round about a company being a happy, flexible business to work for, they will be looked upon more favorably by the most talented candidates, helping the business stand out in a competitive job market
- The chance to reshape and repurpose the office: a more flexible and fluid approach to work means that businesses can redefine exactly what the office is used for, making it a hub for focused work and collaboration rather than just the place where work gets done. The availability of different workspaces, such as desks and meeting rooms, can then be adjusted depending on the specific demands of the workforce
- The chance to learn how the business really works: by applying analytics that looks at who works when, where and with whom, companies can uncover a new level of insight into how they really operate. These insights can be invaluable when it comes to making decisions over future workspace provision or in how the workforce operates day-to-day.
Click here to read our next blog, and discover how to put these aspirations into action and prepare your business for a choice-led flexible work model that benefits all.