It’s no secret that employee engagement, retention, and turnover are top challenges for a number of organisations. In order to overcome these challenges, companies must adapt. But here’s the thing, the workplace as we know it is at a crossroads:
- Smart leaders are measuring productivity by output — not by hours worked.
- Broadband adoption, mobile phones, smart devices, and improved project management and collaboration tools have changed the way teams communicate.
- A new generation is surging into the workplace.
These changes and trends have led to a workforce that demands flexibility. But despite evolving employee preferences and expectations, many companies have workplace policies that have failed to mature alongside their employees. So, in order to attract and retain talent, organisations must redefine “work”:
- 43% of Americans are expected to work from home by 2016.
- An increase in telecommuting could save companies, communities, and employees over $700 billion a year.
- 88% of people say telecommuting would reduce their overall stress.
- 20% of workers would take a pay cut for flexible work options.
- 82% of people said that they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
- 39% of people have turned down a promotion, not taken or quit a job due to a lack of flexible work options.
Ready to redefine “work”? The following steps can help you adapt to a flexible workplace:
- Survey employees about working preferences. Simply gathering information on how your employees prefer to work will pinpoint where your work policies need improvement.
- Create and communicate flexible work policies. Once you know what your employees actually want, update your policies to reflect these expectations. Of course, it can be a shock to transition to telecommuting after working in an office full-time. For many businesses, a gradual change might be necessary. To test the waters, consider offering employees flexible work hours, or just 1-2 work from home days a week. Then tweak your new policy based on feedback and successes.
- Align IT, HR, and Operations to facilitate remote employees. Ensure employees have the technology needed to work from home, clear expectations about performance and goals, and an understanding of workplace policies.
- Reward employee achievements rather than hours worked. In many companies, measures of productivity and success are broken — bosses publicly shame workers for tardiness or employees are promoted for working late, even if it’s just for show. Define departmental and employee requirements in a measurable way, so that your workforce is motivated by success and not hours worked.