Just a few years ago the concept of workplace flexibility was outside the realm of mainstream business. Today, various studies show that providing flexibility is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for a well-functioning workplace.
We all feel the increasing global competition and the fast pace of the current business environment. The continuous strive to be faster, better and more efficient has its consequences. In response, there is nothing such as a 9 to 5 job for many employees today. Rather, many experience themselves working 24/7.
Employees increasingly demand that employers take responsibility
Due to increasing employer demands, many employees report that they no longer have enough time for themselves (60%), for their partners (63%) or for their children (75%). This especially counts for employee groups that are highly educated, managers/professionals and highly paid.
Concurrently, employees believe that the employer has a role to play in reducing the amount of stress in their lives and that the workplace can help reduce the stress levels that employees are facing. In fact, 88% report that having the flexibility that is needed to balance work and personal family life is “extremely” or “very” important when looking for a new job.
If employees are experiencing lack of time during their daily life as a problem, then workplace flexibility might be the most logical solution.
Flexibility remains to be a relatively rare amenity
Even though the demand for flexibility is high – for one out of five employees flexibility still remains to be a perk, and two out of five report that using the flexibility their organization provide can in one way or the another somewhat jeopardize their job. And feeling that way seems to be for a good reason, as manager support for flexibility is declining and they are less and less likely to reward those in the organization who make use of the flexible work arrangement.
Facility and HR Managers: Flexibility is key for creating a better workplace
Organizations will not provide flexibility just because employees need and want it. But the case is that a better work-life balance and higher degree of flexibility often leads to employees being more engaged and satisfied with their jobs and want to remain with their employer.
So how can we as Facility and HR Managers support the flexibility demand in the best way?
To balance the demand for flexibility and more work-life balance, managers may need to do more to assist parents. Several workplaces could offer a collaborative solution by pooling their resources to provide collaborative daycare centers where workers can bring their children. Others could choose to negotiate favorable rates with private, local daycare providers.
The other part relates to enhancement of virtual ways of working. Measures must be taken to guarantee that virtual workers are able to connect to the office from anywhere in the world – through both wired and wireless networks.
This also means that we must ensure that the overall workspace will be attractive and can house virtual workers when, and if, they feel the need to come into the office.
At last, the flexibility afforded to virtual workers can present new challenges to managers accustomed to evaluating and organizing workflow through face-to-face communication.
The same challenges apply to facility management providers, which need to advance their leadership to be able to manage more virtual and flexible workers.
Facility and HR managers that stay ahead of these trends will without any doubt be able to reduce overhead costs and provide employees with a greater sense of work-life balance.
Learn more about the New Ways of Working and how to make your workplace more effective – download our ISS 2020 Vision White Book below.