Thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to connect with your friends, family and coworkers with nothing more than a mobile device and an internet connection. With less need for the amenities of a traditional office, comes less need for the traditional 9-5 work schedule. One survey of marketing and advertising executives found that 76% of companies offered some form of flexible work arrangement. There are more than a few reasons a company might incorporate work-flex and remote options within their employment structure. The benefits, in most cases, outweigh the challenges. Of course, “flexible” takes on different meanings based on the needs and structure of the business.
What is Flextime?
There is no set definition of flex work and no legal requirements or standard expectations for when an employee should be working. That means the organization that is interested in establishing a flextime program can set the structure as they see fit. One company may require the employee to work at least 8 hours within a 10 hour window each day, while another might require employees to adhere to a more rigid set schedule with a half hour of leeway on either side of the shift. Maybe one company designates specific days that everyone must be in office while another allows employees to work remotely full-time.
Regardless of the structure, flextime is all about allowing employees the freedom to work with less constraints. There are many things to gain from a correctly implemented work-flex program:
1. Work-Life Balance
The purpose of a flexible schedule is rooted in support and appreciation for employees as people with complex lives. In other words, people have responsibilities outside of their position within your company. Everything from roles as caretakers, professional and educational pursuits or simple health appointments can cause disruptions in a traditional work schedule.
Employees who know they have the flexibility to coordinate their work around those challenges feel understood and capable of balancing their roles in and out of the organization, and that’s exactly what you want. If an employee doesn’t have that feeling of support, they might begin to feel like they have to make a choice between their job and their life. If they choose their job over other responsibilities, there will undoubtedly be some resentment and disengagement as a result.
Of the employees who say they lack work-life balance within their current job:
- 60% experience poor morale
- 36% reported poor productivity
- 41% said there was high turnover and fatigue
2. Greater Job Satisfaction
Of course, when an employee feels the sense of appreciation and freedom within their role, they ultimately feel more connected to the job they hold. They will know they are trusted to complete their work and uphold their promise as an employee without having to leave other priorities behind. One survey of over 3,000 employees found that people who telecommute are twice as likely to love their jobs than those who don’t.
The survey also found that of the employees who reportedly love their jobs:
- 24% were office workers
- 38% were mobile workers
- 45% were telecommuters
In this case, telecommuters are those who primarily work in a home office and mobile workers are those that use multiple work spaces in and out of the office.
3. Higher Productivity
The same study mentioned above found that employees who had a mobile work structure were less comfortable with being mediocre in their performance. According to 73% of mobile workers and 71% of telecommuters, providing work that could be considered “average” was a “terrible thought.” Additionally, only 27% of mobile workers and 29% of telecommuters would be satisfied with “good” work over being “the absolute best.”
Flexible work arrangements are a direct hit to “presenteeism,” a term created to describe productivity loss from employees who go to work, but are disengaged. This is potentially more damaging than absenteeism because the employee who has come to work, will receive compensation, but will not be producing the work that’s expected. Flex time allows employees to feel engaged while at work because they have the proper time to devote to those outside stressors they might otherwise bring to their job.
4. Less Stress and Burnout
Flexible work schedules help employees deal with a myriad of troubles rather than a traditional work schedule that would typically create barriers. Take commute time as an example. While an employee might be responsible with their own time, outside variables like traffic, late trains, construction and uncooperative children/pets can all affect the start of their shift. Rush hour commuting itself can be overwhelming. A recent study found that one additional hour of commuting has been linked to a 6% decrease in health-related activities such as sleep, exercise and family time.
With flexible arrangements, employees can adjust or completely eliminate drive times while still being productive within their roles. Workplace stress is expensive with Mental Health America estimating the cost of mental illness and substance abuse costing between $80 to $100 billion. However, 87% of workers say a flexible work environment would lower their stress.
5. Saving on Overhead Costs
If you have employees within your office, you’re spending money on real estate, utilities and anything else it takes to house and accommodate employees. In some cases, there is no way to avoid brick and mortar arrangements, but for those that can implement telecommuting, there is significant savings potential. One survey estimates around $10,000 savings in real estate costs per telecommuter. Two companies who started teleworking arrangements saw savings of over 30% on non-real estate costs.
There is a lot to gain from a flexible work arrangement, but the fear of the effects it might have on talent management hold many leaders back from starting one within their company.
ClearCompany’s Talent Management System helps overcome those fears. Our cloud-based software makes performance management easy, no matter where you and your employees are working. It makes role management and goal feedback simple and transparent so your whole team remains in the loop and productive.