Done right, work flexibility equals greater productivity
Today’s modern organizations know that work-life flexibility is essential for a healthy, thriving, productive culture. Some may refer to it as “flexible work arrangements” or “work-life balance.” While the terms are often used synonymously, they don’t always mean the same thing in the eyes of company leaders.
Some leaders fear promoting work-life balance because it can feel like it encourages less work and more play. Work-life flexibility means creating a culture where employees meet the demands of their personal lives while maintaining high levels of work performance. Flexible work arrangements include options for when, where – and how – the work gets done.
Since the pandemic began, the value of workplace flexibility has increased for employees and jobseekers looking for a work environment that prioritizes it. Undoubtedly, workplace flexibility will continue to play an important role in organizations looking to attract talented employees in an ever-evolving work environment.
During the interview process, a great question to ask potential candidates is: What is workplace flexibility, and what does it mean for you? A flexible mindset is a sought-after quality among employers, and it can prove valuable for the employee as well.
When employees adopt a flexible mindset, they tend to experience lower stress levels and better overall well-being. It also enables employees to learn new skills in a changing environment, ultimately benefiting their career path down the road.
Flexibility and adaptability in the workplace can take on a lot of different forms, depending on the environment and industry you work in, but here are a few general ways employees can demonstrate flexibility:
- Arrive to work early or staying later than regular working hours.
- Learn new software or skills to streamline or improve a process.
- Adapt to a changing role that requires additional tasks or responsibilities.
- Set daily tasks aside when needed to address emerging emergencies.
- Cover extra shifts or handle work when a co-worker is on vacation or out sick.
- Train new employees or help co-workers with tasks when needed.
- Offer solutions rather than complaints when problems arise.
- Stay updated on industry trends.
Work-life flexibility has benefits that go beyond the scheduling needs of employees. It starts with encouraging managers to identify employee work styles and personal needs. Work-life flexibility requirements will differ significantly for people, and it is a good idea to create an inventory of what challenges need to be accommodated.
Managers play a vital role here, as they must adapt their communication and feedback methods to support employees through a host of challenges. Some companies fail to adopt a work-life flexibility mindset because they haven’t become comfortable trusting employees to perform and do their jobs.
Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.