Should Your Company Invest in a Workplace Flexibility Program?

Whether your team is composed of a predominantly Millennial group, or there’s a mixture of generations, a work-life balance is necessary. The question is: how far should you take that balance? Many companies are working toward a more flexible program this year. That initiative, however, might not be the right fit for every organization. 

You have to ask your team individually, perhaps during a performance appraisal, if a flexibility program would suit their performance and productivity needs. To accommodate a workforce with a documented and growing desire to have a better work-life balance, should your company invest in a workplace flexibility program?

Are your talent competitors joining in?

Because the “work-life balance” mentality is popular right now, organizations are beginning to invest more in flexibility programs. Last year alone, 29% of companies invested more than $40,000 in their new work-life benefits programs, and 60% spent under $20,000. With 53% of these organization planning to invest more this year, should it be part of your new agenda?

You’ve seen your talent competitors not only retain talent, but drive employee performance. Creating a flexibility program that works for your company could be the motivation your employees need to meet or even surpass organizational performance standards. This gives your employees the opportunity to work at home if they have a sick child or a broken down car with no way to get to the office. Unfortunately, the largest concern for 42% of employers is the potential for abuse of the program.

Set parameters for your team in regards to your new flexibility program. Depending on your company culture, give employees 10 days of work-from-home hours and the opportunity to come in late or leave early (for doctor appointments and the like) as long as they make up their time gone.

It’s important to your team

Workplace flexibility is more important to your employees than you might think. In fact, 50% of employers compared to 75% of employees (and even 74% of unemployed individuals) say workplace flexibility is the most important benefit in the office. No one likes working in a rigid environment. It stifles creativity and the desire to push oneself beyond the minimum for fear of making a mistake.

While some organizations have begun to filter in the flexible workplace, many like Best Buy and Yahoo have begun to phase them out of the workplace culture in favor of a (as Best Buy calls it) “Results-Only Work Environment,” or ROWE. Jeanne Meister, Partner at Future Workplace and co-author of The 2020 Workplace, said:

“These companies demonstrate an understandable fear that geographically diverse workforces will face disadvantages. Employees may work less effectively, they reason, without the synchronous real-life moments that help power collaboration and innovation.”

With some key performance checks, however, you can maintain that “synchronous” work environment even from miles away. Hold weekly feedback sessions with teleworkers so they have the tools they need and you can track performance. With a workplace flexibility program, it’s more important to maintain the regular performance appraisals so you and your employees understand where they line up with company standards.

Flexibility programs benefit everyone (to some extent)

You might have some apprehension to let employees work from home, or even telework, and that’s understandable. You can’t be the omniscient supervisor if they aren’t in the office, right? Well, for the employers that implemented a flexibility program, 71% saw increased productivity, and 87% saw an 87% improvement in employee satisfaction. Millennials might be the generation that outwardly craves a flexible environment, 62% of employers say that Gen X employees benefited from the new program the most.

Ultimately, this is an excellent opportunity for you to strengthen your employer brand and your team. You might be apprehensive about beginning the program, but you will learn as you go what makes it most effective for your team. Is it regular reviews? Or an internal communications system? You can make a workplace flexibility program work for your company, you just have to have the right benchmarks set in place so even your distant employees understand the performance standards.

Bio: Chris Arringdale

Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an online performance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including, Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.

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