How to Embrace Workplace Flexibility in 2020
Updated: Sep 24
Workplace flexibility allows employers and employees to make working arrangements that suit them. This may be done through remote working or through implementing flexible working hours. There are many benefits to workplace flexibility including promoting a good work/life balance, increasing employee productivity and improving employee happiness.
Due to the most recent events in 2020, businesses have been forced into more flexible working conditions (particularly remote working), and many organizations are still adjusting to this new way of work. Below we list several ways that can help your organization embrace flexible work.
How to embrace flexible working:
1. Embrace virtual conferencing
Remote working can be lonely. Face-to-face meetings can help combat the feelings of isolation remote employees have. 65% of communication is non-verbal (facial expressions, hand gestures, etc), so prioritizing face-to-face conversations over emails or phone calls during meetings and 1-on-1 check-ins can help people combat feelings of loneliness but also facilitate better communication. (For more information on virtual conferencing and meetings, make sure to check out our past article on how to ace your remote meetings).
Important note: beware of video fatigue! Sometimes it is early in the morning, your house (and therefore background) may be a mess, or maybe your kids are running around. While video conferencing should be encouraged, be understanding that sometimes people just rather have their camera off.
2. Invest in workplace collaboration software
The options are endless for everyday communication: Slack, Teams, Skype, email. These tools are great for ‘water cooler’ conversations, one-off questions, or quick comments. Keep in mind that with the plethora of digital communication tools, you don't want employees to be spending more time checking and answering messages and less time doing actual work. Make sure to match the message to the channel. For instance, maybe Slack is used for casual conversations or a quick questions, while email is better for list of inquiries. Setting up a good communication strategy with expectations is imperative for successful flexible working arrangements.
3. Designate a time block for meetings (if feasible)
Designating a meeting time block can provide schedule flexibility for your employees that are juggling various responsibilities. By setting core hours for meetings, employees know when they will have time to answer emails and do work without being interrupted. Talk to your team and see what works best for them.
4. Set clear expectations and provide feedback often
Clear expectations of deliverables and deadlines are key to holding employees accountable. Ensure to involve employees in the goal setting process. Moreover, consistent and structured 1-on-1 conversations can help clarify objectives and track progress in real-time.
Remember that there should be a focus on output, not input. We all know that the amount of time worked does not necessarily translate to productivity. Setting clear metrics and deadlines will keep employees accountable wherever and whenever.
How has your organization adapted to flexible working? Let us know your tips and tricks!
For more information on how your organization can get flexible working to work for them, we recommend listening to our Working with People podcast on how to embrace workplace flexibility.