When the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of almost all workplaces in 2020, society was plunged into an unplanned experiment in working from home.
Two-and-a-half years later, employers nationwide have created new working norms that acknowledge that flexible work is no longer a temporary pandemic response but a new way of looking at the modern working world.
How Many Employees are Working from Home?
A recent survey has shown that 58% of Americans are able to work from home at least one day a week. What’s more 35% of survey respondents reported having the option to work from home five days a week.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when people are given the chance to work flexibly, almost all will take it. While the world of flex work started from a health crisis, it’s remained a desirable job feature for millions. This represents a major shift in where, when, and how Americans want to work and are working.
Given this reality, employers will have to explore ways to offer the flexibility employees want to successfully compete for talent.
What Does Workplace Flexibility Mean?
More organizations are planning for or considering adopting a formal policy or set of principles to manage flexible work arrangements going forward.
Employees today demand flexibility tailored to their specific needs, whether it be work-life balance, physical and emotional health, or caring for family. There’s a danger in simply paying lip service to employee’s outlook on work.
Many organizations are looking to radically transform their concept of flexibility. Managers will play a key role in personalizing flexibility for their direct reports as they work with HR to develop creative solutions for their people. The alternative is to risk losing people while failing to attract the best talent.
What Can Employers Do?
That workers value flexibility is clear, and managers and HR professionals should consider how best to meet the needs of their employees: Here are three strategies to consider:
- Decide where work can be done
Organizations should consider ways to truly give employees a sense of control over where they work. For example if not all parts of a job need to be done in-person, leaders should adopt a mindset of “purposeful presence.” This means identifying the type of work and collaboration necessary (individuals, small groups, larger teams), then determine where work needs to happen.
- Agree on when work can be done
This area of flexibility may include employees setting their own working days, hours and schedule changes so that work remains predictable while allowing people to take time off when needed. For many, having control over when they work can be a key factor impacting their decision to continue at their current job – or join the firm.
- Acknowledge work-life balance
Whether working in the office or remotely, employees still have the same work-life responsibilities – including childcare, elder care, etc. Organizations should acknowledge the impact that the return to the office has on worker’s wellbeing by devising and highlighting what the company will do to support their employees lives.
Inter-Connect is a free permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire placement service agency that partners with companies throughout the Illinois, Missouri and Iowa Tri-State region. As experienced staffing experts we understand the challenges in finding great people and have the professional resources necessary to identify the right candidates for your needs. To learn more, contact us today.