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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Flexible Workplace

What Is a Flexible Workplace?

A flexible workplace prioritizes adaptive and responsive strategies to address changing expectations and circumstances within the company. A truly flexible workplace creates flexible employees, is managed by flexible employers, and runs on a flexible schedule.

These strategies are used to increase productivity and improve the satisfaction and happiness of employees, thus better meeting the needs of both employees and employers.

How Can a Workforce Be Flexible?

A flexible workplace offers employees the freedom to work how they want. Therefore, if you want your workplace to be more flexible, you need to leverage practices that allow that freedom. Here are some initiatives your company can champion to encourage better flexibility:

  • Limit how much salaried employees work: Too often, salaried employees feel like they need to work extra hours to complete their assignments. When taken to the extreme, like working over 50 hours a week, it can lead to overworked, underpaid, and unproductive employees. Therefore, encouraging employees to only work their allotted 40 hours a week can help them feel more productive and happy in their roles.

  • Offer flexible working hours: The nine-to-five model doesn’t work for every employee, so allow them to create the schedule that works best for them. This may include leaving the office early and finishing work later in the day or reducing their weekly commitment to just four days a week.

  • Encourage telecommuting: Many employees find telecommuting helps improve their work-life balance since it removes commute times and allows them to address needs at home more easily.

What Are Some Examples of Flexibility in the Workplace?

The following are common initiatives companies have implemented to improve workplace flexibility:

  • Job carving: The employer changes existing job descriptions and reallocates responsibilities.

  • Part-time or full-time remote work: Employers allow their employees to work from home or wherever else they may choose to work.

  • Compressed workweeks: Employees work four 10-hour days a week, thus having more time on the weekends to do what they want.

  • Flextime: Employees are not constrained to be in the office at specific times—they can arrive and leave as early or as late as they desire.

Why Is Being Flexible Important in Business?

Flexibility is so important for businesses to adopt because it shows that your organization treats its employees like human beings.

No longer will employees tolerate being treated like a cog in a machine. To keep a foot in the door in today’s incredibly competitive job market, your company needs to offer more benefits and perks to attract high-level employees. 

Prioritizing a flexible workplace also shows that your company cares about the well-being of your employees and their personal needs. Job candidates who see this quality in your company can be more enticed to apply because work-life balance feels more achievable.

What Are the Benefits of Flexibility in the Workplace?

Both employees and employers can benefit from a more flexible workplace. Here’s how both sides can benefit.

Employee Benefits

Flexible workplaces have more obvious benefits for employees since the added flexibility is meant to make their lives easier. Here are just a few ways they benefit:

  • Better work-life balance: Flexible workplaces help employees balance their work responsibilities with their life at home. For example, offering telecommuting benefits allows them to work wherever they need to on any given day.

  • More adaptive work environments: When flexibility is championed in your company’s everyday operations, your employees can become more adaptive to how they complete their work. That could mean better collaboration or even the discovery of new and innovative ways to work.

Employer Benefits

While they may not experience direct positive results, employers still have a lot to gain from allowing greater flexibility in their employee’s lives.

  • Improved employee retention: Happy employees mean employees that stick around longer. A recent study found that 80% of job candidates would turn down a job offer if the company didn’t offer a flexible work schedule. Therefore, your company should consider creating a flexible work schedule if you want employees to continue working for you.

  • Increased productivity: When employees can control the variables of their working conditions, they can also relax and have a better attitude about their work. This improved attitude can then lead to improved productivity.

  • Better cost-efficiency: When fewer people have to come to an office building, the employer can start renting smaller spaces and spend less on monthly utility bills.

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