The past few years have completely changed the way we look at work. Companies have struggled to find a way to keep up with flexible schedules, having to consider many things - how their services are best provided, and whether or not flexible schedules are even an option.
Now that employers are not forced to make massive shifts to their work model, flex and remote positions still look like a bit of a hot mess. Some companies that initially embraced these options have backed off and transitioned back to a more traditional model of in-house 9-5 models, while others have completely gone in the opposite direction. Today, American workers have more options than ever to find work that fits their schedule and lifestyle.
Over time, many companies recognized the benefits of prioritizing flexible work schedules which resulted in wider talent pools, reduced overhead costs, and reported increases in productivity and work-life balance for employees.
Business owners have to do what they believe is in the best interest of the business and that is challenging considering the core of business is people. Whether a business decides to offer flex and remote schedules or stay on the traditional path of 9-5, the choice becomes part of the culture, which at the end of the day is a great thing. Each entity will find its tribe even if it may take a few rounds to do so.
As we enter 2024, flex and remote options will remain key priorities for attracting top talent. Surveys indicate over half of the global workforce wants to stay remote at least 3 days a week, which is believed to be the best compromise to balance time management, decreasing stress and pressure and increasing productivity, engagement, and focus. 67% of job seekers suggest they are more likely to apply or stay with companies offering some level of flexibility.
For employers wanting to attract skilled candidates, flexibility is no longer just a “nice to have” but can be an area of strategic success in the recruitment process for new and tenured employees alike.
If you are a business that can make changes to the schedule without impacting the way your services are offered, we've included 5 easy tips for updating your work policies to help you get started.
Clarify Remote Work Expectations: Outline which roles can be fully remote, hybrid policies, any location requirements, and schedule expectations around non-negotiable collaboration hours. This provides transparency upfront that employees need and appreciate.
Standardize Flextime Options: Consider formalizing flextime policies beyond parental leave - allowing employees to shift hours worked around core times through spread schedules or adjustments seasonally. Consider quarterly or bi-annual changes if they make sense and align with the business mission.
Evaluate Allowances or Equipment Budgets: Determine if remote employees can be provided "extras" annually for office furniture, internet fees, or equipment like monitors to optimize home office spaces.
Enable Shared Office Spaces: If your business is completely remote or plans to be, research partnerships with shared workspace providers to allow regional staff to access office environments for connection and focus work.
Survey Employees Regularly: Conduct pulse surveys to give remote and hybrid employees a voice to share what is working and what isn't.
The future is no doubt a lot more flexible. Being proactive about remote and hybrid policies, flextime opportunities, and supporting innovative arrangements and schedules, will be key differentiators for attracting, securing, and engaging talent in the future.
Flexibility may not always come in the form of remote or flex work schedules for some businesses. Sometimes it comes in the form of hour, shift, or employee swap changes. Regardless of your setup, and type of business, creating an environment that offers something unique is key to standing out in a market that is saturated and in flux.
What approaches are you considering to advance flexibility?