Flexible work is here to stay and here’s why you should hop on board
Published on April 20, 2022 Last modified on May 15, 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The Covid-19 pandemic shook up the conventions of the workplace in ways that have transformed how and where work is done. Over the past two years, employees around the world have grown accustomed to working from home. Now that offices are opening up again, flexible work arrangements have become part of the new normal.
Long gone are the days of rigid work schedules and where flexi-work is only enjoyed by part-timers, consultants, or freelancers. A 2020 survey from the World Economic Forum reports that 77% of employees actually desire flexibility in how and where they work.
Flexible work arrangements come in many forms, but among the most common are:
Flexi-time - the employee has greater freedom in choosing their work hours. They may be required to work a certain number of hours per workweek, but how they allocate those hours is entirely up to them.
Compressed workweek - essentially means “compressing” the typical 40-hour workweek in less than 5 days. So that means, instead of working 8 hours a day for 5 days, you work 10 hours for only 4 days.
Hybrid work - this model gives employees the freedom to choose whether they work from home or in the office.
There is no single best arrangement for all companies. Like every new setup, it’s a trial-and-error and evolving process. For instance, not every company can benefit from flexi-time. For BPOs or call centers where there are typically peak hours, it might affect overall customer service if employees choose when to work. The same industry, however, can benefit largely from hybrid work as they don’t really have to meet their clients face to face.
There are also some industries where a flexible setup may not work or may be difficult to implement, such as in manufacturing and healthcare industries. But if desired, some experts say you can still apply some form of flexible work in these industries.
Essentially, employers and employees should discuss between themselves which approach would be feasible and would work best for the company.
Benefits of flexible work arrangements
1. Boost morale and productivity
Giving employees autonomy over their working hours or location demonstrates a great deal of trust. It also shows that employers value their employees’ work-life balance.
Imagine going through the daily grind of commuting for an hour or two, arriving at the office, and immediately starting work. When the day ends, you pack up your things, go through the same commute and arrive home exhausted. Then you wake up the next day and do the same routine.
When people can work when and where they prefer, it can reduce stress levels and help in overall productivity. They shave off hours commuting every day and can decide which place they can focus more in (hint: it’s not always in the office).
2. Improve employee retention rate
High employee turnover is an expensive and tedious problem that smart employers want to avoid. And with studies and polls telling us that employees want flexible work, it can be disastrous for employers to ignore that and risk people handing over their resignation letters to find competing companies that would offer such flexibility.
Remember, when employees are happy and satisfied with their working situation, they don’t go off looking for another job.
3. Attract top and diverse talent
“Flexible work” is now a tagline that is increasingly populating job ads. In a study done by Manpower group, 40% of jobseekers consider schedule flexibility as one of the top 3 things they’re looking for when job hunting.
Sure, medical and vacation perks are still a must-have, but the top talents got their eyes on another prize. They won’t settle for traditional working arrangements that dictate their whereabouts in the office every single hour — especially when they’ve learned, over the past two years, that they can be equally productive while working from home or working less hours.
Adopting a flexible work arrangement will also allow you to hire diverse talents from other areas in the country or in the world. A 2020 research by Catalyst shows that companies with diverse employees perform better. Because employees aren’t expected to come into the office every day, you get to expand your candidate pool beyond one location.
Heading towards a flexible work future
The rigid and office-based 9-to-5 structure is now becoming a thing of the past. Flexible work is not only the present normal, but it’s also the future. While we’ve listed down the benefits of implementing a flexible work arrangement, its success depends highly on the employers and the employees. As such, it’s important to design and maintain a working arrangement that works well with a company’s needs and existing practices.
Already convinced by the case of flexible work? Stay tuned for tips on how you can implement and make a flexible work setup successful.