Are the days of the standard 9-5, 5-day-a-week working arrangements over? For some-maybe, yes. Thanks to the ever-evolving nature of technology, now more than ever we’re able to redefine our workdays. And with technological evolution has come the evolution of workers’ needs and desires, too, making it even more important for businesses to adapt where they can.
With COVID-19 lockdowns setting in across the globe, many businesses have come to find that they can operate from a home environment; something many sectors, such as contact centres, never thought possible. The global pandemic has forced businesses to challenge the status quo and come up with new ways to work.
It’s worth noting that flexibility means different things to different people and businesses. It could be flexi-hours, the ability to switch between working from home or the office or incorporating new ways of working with online webinars and meetings instead of travelling long distances or away from family. But adopting a new workday long-term means abandoning the way things have been done for decades, and it might not be easy for everyone to get their heads around.
So, why should you give up the tried and true standard workweek for flexibility?
Productivity will improve
Arguably the most common concern about flexible working is that productivity will take a hit. But talk to friends, family members and co-workers and you’ll come to understand how varied working styles can be. Some might work best in the quiet hours of the morning, while others may prefer to wake late and have productivity peak in the afternoon.
This idea has been backed up by science, too. Studies have proven that in general, flexible workers are considerably more productive than their standard work-day peers. Having productive staff is important for all businesses, and we now know that greater productivity doesn’t necessarily mean clocking more hours. Instead, trusting employees to know themselves well enough to judge how best to use their time pays off for business.
Your staff will stick around for longer
Staff retention is vital to all businesses, small and large alike. And how do you retain staff? By understanding what matters to them. Increasingly, climbing the corporate ladder and earning the ‘big bucks’ has been sidelined by a preference for freedom and flexibility. Workers today are overwhelmingly prioritizing lifestyle and work-life balance over earning more money. Research conducted in 2018 found that 78% of millennials would be more loyal to employers offering flexible working, and 70% of millennials have even left or considered leaving a job for one offering greater flexibility. So, flexible working might not only be desirable for employers to adopt, but critical in reducing staff turnover.
Say goodbye to burnout
It’s not just about what it increases; time and freedom, but also what it decreases; burnout, that makes flexible working important for your staff. HR leaders have found that burnout is responsible for up to half of employee turnover, but flexible working provides a way to remedy this. Flexible working promotes better sleep, memory and positive emotion by allowing employees to better manage the nuances of their own lives and find meaningful balance. By enabling employees to lay essential foundations for their wellbeing, flexible working reduces burnout- making for a happier, healthier workforce.
Ultimately, we hope our businesses will not only do well but thrive. Now, we have the power of knowing that there are new ways to achieve this; and thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever. Whether it’s working from home some days, flexing working hours around personal life or shortening the workweek altogether, flexible workplaces are the way of the future. It’s time to toss out the ‘one-size fits all’ approach and get on board with it. If the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter how.