You’ve probably heard that allowing for a high degree of flexibility in how your employees do their job – including flexible hours and telecommuting from home – can lead to lower turnover and even greater productivity.
It sounds simple enough in theory, but the reality is that a flexible workplace is filled with pitfalls that could lead to lower productivity and higher employee turnover.
When thinking about installing a flexible work arrangement for employees, it’s important that a company thinks about what such a program is trying to achieve and then focus on how it will deliver results.
Planning for Success
Developing a more flexible workplace is no simple task. Management should spend a lot of time, possibly a year or more, exploring the possibility of applying flexibility prior to making any decisions. Managers should also spend months developing the program before bringing it to life. Speaking of managers, businesses should devote time to developing strategies for how its supervisors will function in a more flexible environment.
A major key to developing an effective plan for everyone involved is to hold results-based discussions, rather than letting people operate on instinct and habit. Factors like customer satisfaction rates and revenue should be taken into consideration when trying to add more flexibility into a working ecosystem.
Workers can be kept on target by framing flexibility discussions around concrete quantifiable metrics. In a flexible work system, workers should know they’re being evaluated against a particular set of standards, and this guides them in the direction of the desired outcomes.
In some workplaces, people are expected to be in the office at a particular time and work a lot of hours, often well above the average 40 hours per week.
If that mentality is highly ingrained, implementing a flexible program can be difficult. However, there may be a part of a company’s existing culture that opens the door to added flexibility. For instance, a company that focuses on innovation should view adding flexibility through the lens of workplace innovation.
Fostering Camaraderie Between Team Members
When a flexible schedule system is set up, it may increase employee satisfaction, but your company may also lose the connectedness it had when everyone was in the office at the same time every day. To fight this, workers should collaborate in teams to figure out how they will work together.
By putting an emphasis on team bonds, management tries to reinforce the connections between workers and the company overall, therefore cutting down on the sense of seclusion from the company and the turnover that generally follows the development of these attitudes.
Pushing connectedness as a part of a flexible work program focused on results and leveraging the strengths of your current culture, your company should be capable of producing a program that pleases workers, management and customers.