6 steps to a flexible workplace

6 steps to a flexible workplace

Flexible work is the ‘new normal’: candidates today consider flexibility as their top priority when choosing a job, according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report.

One Stanford study cited by LinkedIn showed a 13% increase in productivity among employees who were given the leeway to work from home. Moreover, flexible work also led to a 50% decrease in employee turnover.

Overall, nearly four in five talent professionals (77%) claim flexible work arrangements have improved the work-life balance of employees, LinkedIn said.

Like any emerging workforce trend, however, flexible work has its hurdles. These include challenges to team bonding, collaboration and work oversight. LinkedIn recommends six ways to ensuring the success of a company’s flexible work arrangement:

1. Know what types of flexibility your employees want
Every industry has its unique set of demands, opportunities and challenges. A quick survey of employees’ needs will clue managers in on the actual arrangements and policies that will work best for their team, whether it’s working from home part-time or allowing for shifting schedules.

2. Partner with teams outside of HR
To maintain a high level of productivity, remote workers need to have the right tools to operate smoothly, from their hardware to their internet connection to their database access. Work with IT and facilities management to set up your workers’ remote desk before signing off on flexible work arrangements.

3. Help employees connect through technology
Remote workers tend to feel isolated or left out given their arrangement. But managers can choose team collaboration, video conferencing and messaging platforms that will allow them to stay connected with their team.

4. Talk up your flex policies
HR leaders should make sure to highlight flexible work as a benefit in their organization, whether they’re recruiting new talent or rethinking employee engagement and retention strategies. Communicate your support for work-life balance as part of your employer brand, from your job advertisements to your company events.

5. Train leaders to manage flexible workers
In the same way remote workers need the right tools and platforms to be established beforehand, in-office managers who will handle offsite employees will need to be trained ahead of time. Questions about collaboration and communication methods, as well as protocols for progress reporting or incident reporting, will need to be clarified first so team leaders and remote workers will know how to operate and coordinate with each other more effectively.

6. Be flexible about flexibility
Flexible work will continue to evolve in the years ahead. Managers should be open to change and be creative in designing policies around the needs of workers.

One thing HR leaders should keep in mind is that their flexible work policies will reflect their own corporate culture – and how well they value their workers’ time, effort and wellbeing.