The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe and strict health measures forced companies to adapt. Overnight, organizations transitioned to flexible workplaces with the main goal to keep the lights on in unimaginable conditions. As things begin to settle, reimagining how we work became essential to thrive.
Flexibility is often defined as the quality of bending easily without breaking. And in the workplace, being flexible relies on and strengthens skills such as resilience, freedom, versatility, cooperation, and tolerance.
It’s no surprise that flexibility is our secret weapon in riding out the inevitable shifts in life and at work.
Studies suggest we should consider flexibility as the core of our adaptation efforts. It ensures continuity through unprecedented challenges and allows us to innovate for growth. The long-term benefits are touching every aspect of our humanity.
Workplace flexibility is central to our reconstruction beyond this crisis. It shows up in day-to-day decisions, like where we work from and how our schedules look. It also influences how we relate to each other and to the problems we have to solve.
Here are six benefits from a flexible workplace and how you can make it work in your favor:
1. Stronger foothold and improved branding
On a macro level, flexibility translates into agility. Agile companies are in a better position to observe and react to subtle changes in the market.
A culture of flexibility can shift focus to new opportunities without the paralyzing fear caused by the disruption of the status quo. Risk tolerance can prove to be a competitive advantage, especially during periods of crisis
Coping with threats and seizing new opportunities are the two sides of the same coin. This is especially true when companies face rapid change and new possibilities open.
To reap the full benefits of a flexible workplace, companies need cohesive values. Leaders have to reinforce a flexible mindset based on innovation, adaptability, and versatility.
This applies to managing outside threats and to promoting and supporting their teams. These are the companies people want to work for.
2. Significant time and money savings
A report from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (UK) suggested flexible workplace arrangements are an essential parameter in a cost/benefit analysis for budget and planning. Depending on the type of work policies–from fully remote to hot-desking–companies secure substantial savings into their bottom lines.
Real estate costs, recruitment/turnover costs, and overheads are the most visible winners. The often-overlooked savings of flexible work arrangements are those brought on by productivity.
Working smarter and better doesn’t yield impressive figures on the spot, but they add up. Efficiency, reduced stress, lower absenteeism, and employee engagement are the long-lasting benefits of improved flexibility, which management can chalk up to their profit margins.
For employees, the scale is smaller but no less impressive. Work and life stand to gain from hours saved from commuting. And money-wise, reduced expenses brought on by flexible work options, such as gas, lunch breaks, and even office attire, are as significant.
3. Improved project management
Project management in a flexible environment is a constant negotiation. Resource allocation, quality of deliverables, and reporting are only some of the struggles. Flexibility can improve all these aspects, and everything starts with agile planning.
Project management and flexible workplace arrangements share several essential prerequisites. The art of flexibility can translate into successful project management without much hassle.
A supple way of assigning tasks and setting milestones can benefit both projects and teams. Open communication and clear expectations keep things running during the stress of execution.
Project (and people) managers have to stay on top of changing requirements while maintaining disruptions at a minimum. Flexibility works to counterbalance uncertainty by keeping options open and decision-making swift.
This is why so many organizations trust Teamwork to better collaborate, communicate, and get work done. Teamwork’s platform allows project managers to closely monitor tasks and allocate work to those team members who have the time for it.
A flexible workplace is dependent on how the team interacts, gets projects done, and stays happy. It’s not just the four walls around everyone, but also the software your team uses each day.
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4. Better talent acquisition and retention
Trends favoring flexible workplaces are not new. The pandemic sped up the opening process started by globalization.
Companies can and should reach out to top talent regardless of borders. Collaboration, innovation, and autonomy are some of the flexibility perks that attract top-notch professionals.
Diversity is another significant advantage of flexible workplaces. Companies can only stand to benefit by reaching out to a broader range of people. A diverse pool of ideas and experience can support a vision of growth and inclusion.
And with a culture of freedom, recognition, and flexibility, leaders can better keep top employees. The most effective employees are the ones with drive, impeccable work ethics, and an entrepreneurship spirit.
They thrive when empowered by having control over their time and careers. Organizations need to be prepared to keep up with the employees of tomorrow by empowering team leaders and giving them the right tools for workforce management.
5. Increased involvement and strengthened teams
Contrary to common fears, a flexible workplace is not antithetic to a sense of belonging and robust collaboration. On the one hand, companies have all the remote work tools required to connect, manage, and collaborate.
But on the other hand, having the flexibility to work at their peak hours allows employees to show up and commit fully to their work. Managing teams in a flexible setting doesn’t come without its challenges.
Leaders need to ensure they replace cohesion provided by a shared physical space with a deeper type of belonging. Corporate values and our shared humanity can work to glue teams together. We no longer need fixed office hours and imposing buildings for that.
Choice plays an essential role in the success of flexible teams. The opportunity to have a say in work schedule or location gives employees the power of agency. The benefits are visible in productivity and commitment.
6. More achievable work-life balance
The pandemic made us stop and put things into perspective. Our loved ones, quality time spent together, mental health, and a sense of balance came front and center. A flexible workplace and schedule allow us to focus on what is really important, sometimes with better commercial results.
People are starting to grasp the real advantages of having a flexible workday, and it is becoming the No. 1 priority when deciding on a job.
A flexible work schedule weighs toward job satisfaction. With a calmer mindset, people are better equipped to deal with personal needs and family responsibilities.
The future is flexible
If we stop to think about it for a second, this is the story of the willow at an overwhelming scale. Faced with unprecedented shifts in how we work and how we live, flexibility saves us time and time again.
Statistics look good. A survey from Buffer found almost half of companies worldwide have remote and flexible work opportunities, catering to the 99% of the employees who include remote options in their career plans.
Additionally, a statistic uncovered from SHRM showed productivity increases by 65% in flexible environments, while turnover decreases by a quarter. Flexibility is good for employees, companies, and the environment.
A sense of balance and agency contributes to well-rounded individuals who can show up and put in the work. But this is a process, and some of us will have to face a steeper learning curve. We have to remember that the benefits outweigh the struggles. Having embraced flexibility, we can brave every storm that comes our way.