6 Benefits Of Increased Flexibility In The Modern Workplace
While flexibility in the workplace was formerly a perk, it's increasingly becoming a condition for employees who value the options it offers.
Employees want more flexible work arrangements, but in a substantial post-pandemic shift, they’re no longer willing to give up compensation to get it. Research suggests that an increasing number of workers — including 92% of millennials and 80% of women — really value and desire flexibility in their workplaces.
An ADP Canada survey supported these findings. However, it also revealed that 69% of employees were unwilling to accept reduced compensation to get flexibility. Before the pandemic, employers were able to tout work flexibility as a perk, but it is now a condition of employment for many employees. Employers are now embracing this change. Deloitte recently reported that 92% of companies see flexible work arrangements as a critical component of employee management.
Flexibility in the workplace isn’t just a win for employees. It can also be a win for employers. Here are 6 benefits that increased flexibility can bring to your workplace.
Workplace Flexibility Defined
Flexibility in the workplace encompasses several different approaches. It can include flexibility in where your employees work, when they work, and even how they work. These include remote work, flexible hours, and some control over tasks, due dates, and even check-ins. Depending on the nature of your workplace and the type of work you do, it should ideally include all three.
1. Access to a Larger Hiring Pool
A flexible work environment — particularly one that allows for remote working — can throw open the floodgates on your potential hiring pool. Companies with remote work options are no longer confined by geography in their hiring. They can hire from anywhere, bypassing labour shortages near their home bases and diversifying their pool of talent.
Millennials are citing a desire to achieve a better work-life balance and more flexible work schedules at the top of their job hunt priority lists. Fostering a flexible workplace will provide you with easy access to this growing and essential talent demographic as well as give you a competitive advantage over your less flexible competitors.
2. Better Work-Life Balance
Almost 50% of Canadians are currently considering quitting their jobs or are actively looking for another, and most cite work-life balance as a contributing factor. Flexible work arrangements, particularly those that offer some tractability in terms of work hours or those that save workers a long commute, provide better balance.
3. Keep your Current Employees
While flexibility provides businesses with more recruitment opportunities, it also offers an unparalleled opportunity to retain existing employees. Employees with a healthy work-life balance tend to be less stressed and more satisfied with their work. Job flexibility is directly related to job satisfaction, according to Statistics Canada.
Remote workers and those with flexible schedules are also happier and feel more valued at work. This feeling of value easily translates into increased company morale and employee engagement, both critical to retention and productivity. In other words, they’ll be more likely to stay in their jobs and get a lot more done while they’re there.
4. Increased Productivity
Almost 79% of employees believe that flexible working conditions would make them more productive. They may not be wrong. Most cite few distractions and interruptions, less stress from commuting, and avoiding office politics as the primary reasons for their improved productivity.
Several studies support this, suggesting substantial productivity improvements when employees have flexibility, particularly in setting their own schedule. In fact, one study found that flexible workers logged 1.4 days more worth of work every month than their traditional office counterparts. They are able to work in the manner that best suits their own preferred style. There is also an associated increase in regular attendance for flexible workers, reduced sick days, and late arrivals, which can help boost productivity.
5. Competitive Advantage
Offering flexibility in your workplace provides a competitive advantage in hiring and retention, but it may also help your competitive edge in other areas. Being an employee-friendly workplace that offers flexible work options can boost your public image. Additionally, there are also more practical considerations. Offering flexible hours may allow you to increase the time frame for customer service over a broader range of time. This is a critical option for many sales and service departments.
6. Cost Savings
According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote work offers potential cost savings for employers of more than $11,000 per year. This includes costs related to real estate, electricity, absenteeism, turnover and lost productivity. Employers also find additional cost savings associated with flexible work conditions in everything from office equipment to janitorial services to paper goods. Employees would also save between $8,800 and $23,900 in annual costs related to commuting, childcare, and eldercare. There are also some tax breaks for those who maintain home offices.
Flexibility Is Key
Workplace flexibility can positively impact your current and future employees and enhance your productivity and bottom line. It’s a positive investment in your workforce and your company.
Written by Jennifer Crump
Jennifer Crump is a former freelance journalist and author and now full-time content writer and strategist. She contributes to magazines and blogs throughout North America on issues related to business, training, financing and workplace safety.