When you mention ‘flexible work’, different workplace flexibility ideas come to mind for different people. One thing is clear, though; no matter how it looks, it’s growing more and more important to today’s talent.
Almost 40% of candidates rank workplace flexibility as one of the top three factors they consider when job hunting.
96% of employees, meanwhile, feel that they need flexibility at work. But only 47% believe they have access to the sort of work flexibility that they need. That’s a massive 49% gap!
This gap is even more pronounced for women—only 34% have the type of flexible working arrangement they want.
Of the employees who did report having some flexibility at work, only 19% said they had access to structured workplace flexibility programs.
If diversity and inclusion can make such a huge difference to a business’s bottom line, how is there such a big gap between the percentage of employees who want to make use of workplace flexibility ideas, and the percentage who actually get to?
Why does workplace flexibility matter?
Implementing workplace flexibility ideas ensures you can attract—and retain—a wider range of employees. Every employee and candidate has a different set of needs. The more you can cater to, the more you’ll benefit from a happier, more diverse, and more productive workforce.
Creating a flexible workplace means embracing changes that make employees’ work schedules work for them.
Over time, these changes compound to improve your employee satisfaction and employer brand. And make you more money.
Offering the option of a flexible work schedule is a low-cost way to add to your compensation package. Plus, it reduces your employee turnover and helps you tap into a wider talent pool.
It also shows employees that you value work/life balance—something that’s grown increasingly important since the pandemic.
And it’s something that can easily be adapted for remote work, hybrid work, or office-based work.
So, let’s take a look at some workplace flexibility ideas that serve both people and profit:
Flexible working hours
The most obvious group of people who can benefit from flexible hours are parents. When they don’t have to be superglued to their desks from 9am every day, they get to drop off, and pick up, their children from school. This saves them money on childcare and gives them more time with their children.
A flexible schedule doesn’t just benefit working parents, though. Some people just don’t fit with the traditional 9-5 model.
Leaning into employees’ natural working patterns helps them excel in their roles. It also embraces neurodiversity and creative thinking, and benefits your business as a result.
I’ve spoken to a couple of friends who work full time recently, and they’ve both told me that they feel they could do just as good of a job if they worked one day fewer per week.
Having to work five days means they’re often finding ways to fill the time or pretending to be busy.
This isn’t how a healthy company culture should operate. What should matter is the quality of work someone produces, not how many hours they spend sitting at a desk.
Reduced hours or part-time work
If you’ve got a fantastic employee whose situation has changed—for instance, they’ve just become a parent or been diagnosed with a chronic health condition—rather than lose them, why not reduce their hours instead?
This is a great way to retain their company knowledge. And, as we’ve seen above, it doesn’t always mean a reduction in productivity. Offering some workplace flexibility ideas when an employee is struggling is a great way to show you value them.
Rather than have someone work a set number of hours per week, annualized hours average out over time.
This flexible work arrangement ensures that tasks get done, but nobody’s sitting at a desk twiddling their thumbs when they’ve completed all their tasks for the day/week.
This improves employee wellbeing and means they have more time to spend during launches or other busy periods without wasting time when things are quieter.
Job sharing is when two or more employees split the equivalent of a full-time role between them.
This flexible working arrangement helps you attract working parents. Or just people who want to work but can’t or don’t want to work full-time.
As a result, you get to benefit from the alternative perspectives that come with increased workplace diversity. In today’s tight hiring market, incorporating some of these workplace flexibility ideas can help you tap into new talent pools.
Flexible paid time off
The average US worker takes just 20.3 days off per year. In the UK, employees get at least 28 days including bank holidays. Any less than this would put most Brits off applying for a role. Extra PTO makes the job more attractive and says a lot about the workplace culture.
Flexible PTO allows employees to take as much vacation time as they like without it impacting their role or the attitudes of their colleagues toward them.
To introduce this, you could set an example by taking time off yourself. This shows employees you really do value breaks from the desk and workplace wellbeing.
Sabbaticals are a great way for employees to explore the world, learn about themselves, and recover from mental/physical health issues.
Knowing that there’s a job at the end to return to reduces some of the stress of their time away. This can further help them to relax and recover.
Going from full-time work to full-time retirement can be a huge shock to someone’s mind and body. If they don’t have hobbies it can lead to boredom, loneliness, and unhealthy habits.
Phased retirement allows them to adjust to retired life while still connecting with others and getting some mental stimulation.
They could use this time to train someone to replace them, meaning that you don’t miss out on talented employees’ industry or company knowledge—they can pass it on to the next person before they leave.
Workplace flexibility is a cornerstone of a diverse and inclusive workplace. It starts with a flexible mindset that values work/life balance.
It embraces everyone’s working patterns and ways of life, helping them perform at their best. And means you get the most out of every employee.
When the work environment is adapted to suit employees’ needs, instead of them needing to adapt themselves to suit their workplace’s needs, they’re more engaged and more productive.
Implementing workplace flexibility ideas improves your company culture, employee retention, and job satisfaction. It also makes you a more attractive employer to prospective candidates.
If you’d like to get more rapid feedback on your existing workplace flexibility ideas, or simply ensure employees are aware of everything they can tap into, Workrowd can help.
Our all-in-one platform automates surveys and engagement analytics to give you more insight into what’s making a difference for employees. Plus, by bringing everything employees need under one roof, there’s no question about where to find important info.