The numbers are in, and they tell a story: employees in our post-COVID (pre-post-COVID?) landscape put a high value on flexible work arrangements.
When we all started working from home two years ago, it was out of necessity. But even when it is safe to go back to the office full time, many workers don’t want to.
Whether you are looking to create a new normal for your team or trying to make your organization attractive to new recruits, building a flexible workplace is probably on your list of priorities. Here are three tips for adding flexibility that should make everyone happy.
1. Involve Employees in Reimagining the Workplace
Flexible work requires a culture of trust and communication. Get off on the right foot by including your existing employees in designing your new workplace. Start by asking questions: what types of flexibility are most valuable to your workers? Remote work? Flexible hours? The ability to go part-time for a season? As you listen to the answers, try not to assume that everyone is just trying to get out of work more often.
Many people have discovered that they are more productive at home, or that they work better during times other than regular office hours. Working parents value being able to pick their kids up from school, but might be more than happy to pitch in a few hours later in the evening.
If you listen to your employees and include them in building a more flexible workplace, you have the added benefit of their buy-in right off the bat.
2. Consider New Metrics
The days where everyone goes to one place, punches a time card and sits behind glowing screens are probably gone. But let’s be honest – nobody is ever working the full 8 hours they sit behind that desk. If nothing else, productivity takes a sharp decline on Monday mornings, most afternoons, and Fridays.
Instead of focusing on hours worked, consider switching to a more task- or project-focused way of measuring productivity. This lets workers focus on upping their own productivity rather than whiling away the hours.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Do you need everyone at your weekly meeting? Communicate to your team whether meetings are required or not. When planning, consider asking everyone when they are available and set the meeting for then, instead of an arbitrary time that assumes a regular office schedule.
And do cut back on required meetings. Your employees can spend that time actually working if you let them. One-on-one check-ins may be a better use of everyone’s time.
Finally, make sure that required meetings start and end on time to reduce employee frustration.
We want to hear your experiences! How have you brought flexibility into your workplace?