This post is by Sarah Duffy from Openview Labs
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The days of 9-to-5 in-office facetime are becoming a distant memory as more and more companies adapt their definitions of workplace flexibility to meet the wants and needs of their most prized employees. Flexibility and work/life balance are some of the highest rated benefits by employees today. OpenView recently conducted a survey of 360+ full-time workers in the technology industry and a whopping 70% of respondents said having flexibility at work is “critical.” What was once considered a rare luxury is now being viewed as a core offering for companies that are competing for top talent. But despite its rising popularity, there is still quite a bit of gray area when it comes to flexible work policies. What is flexible working? Why is it the way of the future? How do I make it work for my company? Read on to find out.
OpenView’s survey resultsThe proven benefits
flexible work policies are numerous, and with 51% of employees wishing their company offered more flexibility, it’s in a company’s best interest to listen. Flexible benefits cost an employer nothing to offer, yet yield hugely positive outcomes. Employees with flexibility in their jobs are more likely to stay put. According to a 2017 Owl Labs “State of Remote Work” report, companies that support remote or flexible work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t. Furthermore, fully distributed companies take 33% less time to hire a new employee than companies that hire in specific locations. Additionally, flexible benefits can make a company more attractive to job-seekers with different life situations (i.e. parents with young children), which means a bigger talent pool to hire from. A 2016 survey by FlexJobs found that working parents ranked workplace flexibility ahead of salary. OpenView found that a staggering 84% of working parents said work flexibility is the most important factor in a job. But above all else, giving your employees flexibility in their work schedules is one of the best ways to acknowledge that their well-being is important. It creates a culture of accountability, maturity and balance, which can only mean positive results for the business.
Implications of a non-flexible work environmentWhile many believe that the benefits of flexible working speak for themselves, the potential implications of not offering such benefits are palpable. Flex benefits are fast becoming a must-have for employees and job-seekers today. Companies who refuse to offer such flexibility could find themselves in a bind. Not to mention they’re already in the minority – according to Zenefits’ 2018 Flexible Work Report, 67% of respondents claimed their employers currently offer some form of flexible work arrangement. It’s a known fact that hiring is getting more difficult by the year. Upwork’s Future Workforce Report states that 39% of surveyed managers agree that hiring is getting harder (3x higher than last year’s findings). Out of those that agreed with this sentiment, 53% cited local access to skills as the biggest hiring challenge (AKA, they can’t find the talent they need in the location they’re seeking it). And of the entire 1,000 managers surveyed, they predicted that ~38% of their full-time employees will work predominantly from home or remotely. By not offering remote or WFH flexibility, a company could shut itself off from talent located outside of the desired region. However, by denying any type of work flexibility, a company could also risk losing currently employed talent – 36% of workers claim they are likely to leave their current job due specifically to lack of flexible work benefits.
What policies are right for your organization?Once you’ve come around to the pros of flexible benefits, the first step is to evaluate the right policies for your organization and understand the different forms and arrangements that currently exist. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, anything outside the typical 40-hour, 9-to-5 work week is flexible. Some possible/common flex arrangements include:
- Flexible hours: Coming in at 6:00 am and leaving at 2:00 pm
- Partial work-from-home (WFH): Working from home 2-3 days a week or at one’s discretion
- Remote or telecommuting: Working primarily from one’s home or remote office
- Compressed weeks/hours: Working longer hours on certain days to build up flexibility on others