Let's Face It, Not Everyone Is THAT Flexible
Who can do the splits? Is anyone that flexible anymore? I used to be able to, but now those splits look more like the leaning tower of Pisa on a good day. I am sure with more stretching and creating more flexibility, I could get there again.
As the end of 2022 is upon us, no doubt everyone one in the workforce has been effected by the new normal that exists as it relates to our work environments. Companies as a whole and individual employees have all made sacrifices and changes with how we do our work and have tried to create more flexible work arrangements where perhaps there was little to none prior to 2020.
More and more employees are working in hybrid settings, if not 100% remote, and employers continue to make changes to what is now coined 'flexible work arrangements'. A recent report from Breezy's 2022 Workplace Trends and Insights reported that a whopping 73% of employees now work in either a hybrid or fully remote setting, with nearly half (43%) working remotely full-time.
I am just not convinced every employer is doing all they can to be truly flexible right now. How flexible are these arrangements? Do they come with strings attached? What does it take for both employees and employers to fully understand what flexible means?
The value of flexibility has been measured and the risk of losing top talent is evident if employers do not remain flexible. I do, however, challenge employers to ask themselves some key questions as it relates to the term 'flexible' when it comes to your employees and just how truly flexible they are being when it comes to their employees
1. Where can the work be done?
Does your current remote work agreement state the employee must have a home office set up? Who is paying for that set up?
Does it state they are not able to be physically anywhere else but their home when they are working?
2. When can the work be done?
Do you have flexible work shifts?
Have you been able to shift your start time and end time to your days as needed?
3. How can the work be done?
Do employees control the pace and flow of their workday?
Do employers let their employees truly have control over how the work is completed?
I would go as far as to say while flexibility is important to employees, autonomy is even more important. The lower the flexibility, the lower the autonomy one has in their role. The higher the flexibility, the higher the autonomy one has in their role.
As employers, let's start to think of flexibility in terms of what employees are truly looking for which is autonomy. Giving employees the tools they need to work autonomously from anywhere and support them in getting them to the level of autonomy that makes sense for your company.
What can companies do in 2023 to ensure employees have the right amount of autonomy? Ask your employees directly or survey them anonymously. Whatever works to gain the information you need to gain and understanding of what is important to them.
We can all learn to do the splits again and be more flexible, which in turn will create great autonomous employees. By giving employees the autonomy to be as flexible as possible, no doubt employers will see a more motivated and higher performing workplace.