Workplace Flexibility Helps Employee Retention
“The work arrangements were a bit of a motivating factor as well to leave. Starting with the company, I knew I would get less time off than what I had acquired at my prior job, but the company could have been more flexible and negotiated this option. Sometimes more time off is better than more pay.”  – Actual comment from when an employee left a company

Increasingly, employees at all levels and across all demographic groups are finding it challenging to manage the time they spend at work and the time to attend to their personal needs. Finding an acceptable balance between one’s work and personal life has become more and more difficult as employees face various work and life issues at different times during their careers. The best solution to the ever-changing needs and priorities of employees and employers is workplace flexibility.

What is driving the need for workplace flexibility in today’s business environment?

  • The“24/7 world”: The ability to be contacted every day at almost any hour has created a work environment that is virtually impossible to shut off. Employees need to be able to get away from the office to be with family and friends without work expecting them to be readily available.
  • Globalization: Communicating with others around the world is a wonderful thing, but thanks to differing time zones, normal working hours may become skewed. Having a flexible work environment will allow international business contacts to keep in touch without demanding travel or odd office hours.
  • The Virtual Office: Jobs are evolving, and there are many office tasks that can be done from home or a connected location other than the business location itself. Telecommuting is a great way to allow employees to stay home when necessary without having to use paid time off, whether they have personal commitments or should be avoiding the commute due to dangerous weather conditions.
  • Changing Workforce Demographics: The workforce has become more technologically savvy, and they understand when tasks need to be done in person, and when they can easily be done elsewhere. Not only that, but with more families requiring both parents to work, staying late is not necessarily a viable option as they need to get home to spend time with loved ones.
  • Expectations of Younger Generations: The younger generation is motivated to improve themselves, with many planning on attending graduate school in order to find their desired job in a field that is meaningful for them. While feeling fulfilled on the job is important, the priority for most is a healthy work-life balance.

While many organizations are moving toward a more strategic approach to workplace flexibility as part of their work-life portfolio, informal flexibility is already the norm in many organizations. Informal flexibility is essential for employers allowing flexible work arrangements, such as employees working at home occasionally, coming to work after a doctor’s appointment, or leaving early for a personal appointment without scrutiny or consequence. In particular, millennials have been vocal in demanding options that create a more flexible work environment, such as the virtual office. Others who have been brought up in the age of technology, such as those from Generation X and the newly emerging Generation Z, are also more apt to be drawn to companies offering those benefits, staying for as long as they feel valued, appreciated, and respected.

Many workplace flexibility options are no- or low-cost solutions that can be used to provide a more attractive work-life balance for employees and reduce turnover for the employer. With many talented candidates desiring a better balance, it is essential for businesses to review current policies in order to keep up with the competition. Organizations with flexible work options find they have increased attraction and employee retention, but it also provides many other great benefits, such as:

  • More Employee Buy-In: Allowing employees to telecommute and customize their own schedule, nothing is imposed on them from the business. Employees feel trusted and respected, making them more dedicated to the company. Ideally, they shouldn’t feel they are working for you, but with you, leading to a more collaborative environment.
  • Broader Selection of Talent: With many positions that are open to telecommuting, your company has the ability to hire talented people from anywhere in the world. Of course, this option should be used sparingly, as working face-to-face is often necessary for fostering creativity within teams.
  • Higher Employee Morale: Having more flexibility lowers absenteeism and even employee turnover. It also brings more engagement and productivity as employees feel they have the ultimate control over their lives and roles. Again, the trust a business places in them makes them feel valued, which they will return with more investment in their work and the organization as a whole.

In business, we want to retain great talent for as long as possible, and as workplace environments evolve, it’s important to make the changes we can to provide desired benefits to employees. It is not enough to simply believe what your company offers is what is best for employee retention, you must also be open to feedback from employees, making tweaks where necessary. Getting straight-forward, useful, and organized data is simple with our employee engagement survey and employee stay interview.

For more information, or to schedule a demo with our team, contact us today.