The Flexible Workforce: Now is the Time!

April 11 2019 | by Kristi Weierbach, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, FPC

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 72% of respondents indicated that Workplace Flexibility is essential when deciding where they want to work. So, it’s no surprise that when a company is unable to accommodate this type of work arrangement, it becomes a significant barrier for attracting and retaining talent.

In the report, LinkedIn defines Work Flexibility as “empowering employees to work when and where they want.” Technology is at the root of this movement, not only by enabling it to be a reality but in changing the expectations of how we work. While many may believe that the younger generations have caused this tidal wave, whether you are people watching on a park bench or a busy sidewalk you will see that all ages are using technology in a variety of ways.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how flexibility impacts the workplace.

Investment Goes Both Ways

We can all relate to a boss who watched every minute we were at our desk or more importantly every second we were away. This unnecessary pressure can leave people feeling deflated and unmotivated to work. Forget even trying to ask for a little extra time at lunch to go to a doctor appointment.

Employees who work for a company that offers workplace flexibility can meet their daily/weekly goals while still having the freedom to balance personal needs. In a flexible work environment, employees can start their workday a little earlier or work later into the evening to ensure all commitments are fulfilled. Think about how good it would feel to know you can attend a sporting event or play a round of golf on a beautiful spring day, NO questions asked! The message that employees hear when working for a company that offers flexibility is that you and your family are important to us.

By caring about the lives of employees, a company can experience significant return including higher productivity and more engaged staff. Employees invest more when they are invested in.

Competitive Advantage

Workplace flexibility creates infectious excitement. Whether it’s new hires or new clients, people are drawn to an organization with happy employees. Clients, vendors, partners, etc. can see an elevated level of engagement when employees are able to manage their own work/life balance. This energy and passion can be used as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining the best talent.

Not many will argue that word of mouth is the best way to grow a business. Employees who work for a company that embraces flexibility spread the word through conversations and actions. Additionally, workplace flexibility allows an organization to remove the limitations of geography when it comes to hiring. Suddenly your talent pool is as large as you want it to be. With technology in place, employees can work more collaboratively and communicate with each other and clients in new ways. It’s this freedom that differentiates you from the competition.

Are You Future-Ready?

Workplace flexibility is the new norm, and it’s so much more than the option of working remote. It requires a shift in thinking; cultural changes and embracing a future-ready mindset. It involves all areas of a business, not just human resources and technology. It may also require some to let go of more traditional opinions of how employees should work and how we define and/or measure productivity and success.

Having difficulty understanding why workplace flexibility is becoming so popular? It may be beneficial to step into the shoes of those who are demanding it. Try empathizing with others to understand how they may think, feel, see, say, do, and hear certain things. An empathy map is a great tool to do this intentionally and gain serious perspective that can contribute to your overall success.

Next Steps

Workplace flexibility is something that should be eased into, and in our upcoming webinar, we will talk more deeply about the technology that enables flexible work arrangements as well as steps you can take to be more comfortable with this trend that continues to move forward.

2 Comments

Pranoti Kikale

Thank you for this article. I have been talking about this for a while. It is important to have a flexible environment at your workplace in order to be productive and efficient. It helps boost your self-confidence and make you feel important in this competitive world.

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Kristi Weierbach

Pranoti, thank you for continuing the conversation. It is exciting to see the workplace evolve, and I look forward to the continued journey!

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