A hot topic of discussion at the moment is “flexibility within the workplace”. Generation Y cannot understand this theory. Obviously if they are not in the office they are not working, right? FALSE! Research has found that companies who allow flexibility within the workplace have a more productive and happier workforce with stronger loyalty and commitment. As a mom, I like the fact that I am afforded the flexibility to watch my kids play sport and believe it or not, late at night we work twice as hard due to the limited distractions.

Flexibility within the business is an excellent way to retain and attract excellent talent within the workplace. Megan M Biro perfectly brakes this topic down in an article – https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/08/18/5-reasons-why-workplace-flexibility-is-smart-talent-strategy/#7c1d633a18ff –  “5 Reasons Why Workplace Flexibility Is Smart Talent Strategy”:

  1. Buy in

When you work with people to customize their work-life fit, you aren’t imposing anything on them. You’re treating them with respect and trust. Which will be returned and when talented employees decide to work from home three days a week, they are making a serious commitment to the organization. Instead of working for you, they are working with you. This builds enormous buy-in and a better workplace culture.

  1. A Broader Talent Pool

If talent doesn’t need to be in the office, your talent pool is suddenly global, not local or even regional. You can build productive relationships with talent across the country or across the globe. With social networks, intranets, project-specific groups, and teleconferencing, distances become increasingly irrelevant. Caveat: There is nothing quite like face time, and creative sparks often fly when people are actually together in a room brainstorming. Telecommuting is a tool to be used judiciously.

  1. Higher Morale

Studies show that organizations that offer workplace flexibility have less absenteeism and turnover, and higher levels of engagement and productivity. Again, it comes down to control. We all need to feel in control of our lives, and by working with talent on flexibility, you grant them real control. They feel trusted and valued, and their investment in the work, and in the organization, grows.

  1. Smart Strategy

Many organizations today view workplace flexibility as a strategic move, not an employee benefit. The bottom line is that progressive companies have an easier time attracting and retaining talent. People with a lot to offer want to work at companies that treat them like adults and have empathetic, energetic, progressive cultures. On a more prosaic level, telecommuting can save costs on supplies, real estate, and utilities

  1. Value Added

Truly engaged employees don’t leave the job behind when they’re off the clock. They carry their current projects with them 24/7. They are always open to new inspiration or insight. Ideas are all around us. Employees who are telecommuting, or working on schedules that they helped design, are out in the world more, open to input, away from an office environment where stagnation can set in. An employee with a well-rounded, active life will bring value-add to any job, and may well find inspiration – that can then be brought to the project at-hand — in surprising places.”

I truly wish that more companies within South Africa would allow for more flexibility. Unfortunately, they seem to be to set in their “old” ways. Do managers really want to keep an “eye’ on their staff or is it just the fear of losing control? Either way, as times change so do we, or the way in which we do things. It has been in my experience that people value their time and flexibility over the remuneration package.

Food for thought: Do you have a flexible place of work?

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