“To make flexibility work, it is not only necessary to change our attitude about who is a good worker and who is not, but we have to train managers at all levels to recognize the difference between the number of hours worked and the quality of work produced.” – Madeleine M. Kunin
Recent findings in the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index reveal exciting and challenging trends in the modern workplace. The changing work environment sees fewer employees working standardized hours. Technology now allows employees to work from any location. The global economy requires the ability to conduct business on a non-standardized schedule.
That the workplace is changing comes as no surprise to those paying attention. Preparing for it can be a challenge. It is in this context we begin a three part series that explores this topic in hopes of raising awareness and starting a conversation about solutions.
What does it look like?
While this is not a new concept for many organizations it is nonetheless an approach whose time has come and it deserves a second look. In the changing work environment employees are encouraged to work, within reason, a schedule that works for them. The emphasis is more on task accomplishment than on hours in the office.
The shift toward this approach, like any new idea or concept, begins with the leadership of the organization. New attitudes must be embraced if new ways of competing in the global economy is going to work for you. In short- flexibility must give way to adaptability which in turn gives way to greater productivity.
Why is it important?
A good workforce is the foundation of every successful business. It’s no longer about work-life balance. Employees want work to fit seamlessly into their personal lives. If you want to attract and keep high performing employees, you are going to have to provide the flexibility they desire.
The Staples Index revealed that burnout and employee engagement is a major concern among employees. When asked what would help turn that around the number one response was workplace flexibility. While we embrace a strong work ethic and productivity, perhaps organizations would be better served not by employees who are burned out but by employees who are empowered and inspired by greater flexibility and control over their schedules.
How do we do it?
What if we change the way we look at employees, from working for us as an employee, to working with us more like an independent contractor?
In many organizations righting the course can take time. Old ways and mindsets can be hard to overcome.
Here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace flexibility.
1. Acknowledge – It’s time to bring your team together and acknowledge attitudes and mindsets that are holding you back. It’s time to take an honest look at what is and is not working. It’s time to quit clinging to traditions and think about the future.
2. Create – The flexibility you desire and production goals you set are the ones you create with intentionality. What will your future look like? What will employee engagement in your workplace culture look like? It looks like what you create!
3. Trust – Show your employees that you know that you have hired the right people for the right positions. Let them see through your actions that you trust them to operate in the best interest of the organization without the need for micromanagement. Give them the resources they need and then let them do their job.
4. Identify – Identify one or two small changes that you can implement right away to signal that the desire for flexibility is being recognized. Regardless of how big or small, just do it. Baby steps are acceptable. Now, identify one or two “old ways” of doing things and let them go. Identifying change and creating change can be done, and is best done incrementally.
5. Observe – How are employees responding to the incremental changes you are implementing? How is your culture being impacted? What should your next step be? Ask employees for their input; involve them in the development of the plan going forward.
6. Next Step – Offering flexibility is a great starting point for attracting the best talent and staying agile in the changing work environment. But, you can’t stop here. Once you have acknowledged the attitudes that are holding you back; have intentionally created a workplace culture; shown employees that you trust them; have identified incremental changes you can make; and observed the impact of those changes, it’s time to take the next step.
Editors’ Choice: Why These Articles Were Great!
What the Fed Said to Spook the Markets
11 Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week!
The Cornerstone of Effective Marketing Is Understanding Your Niche
Find Your Why, Before You Give
How Will Asset Managers Find Ways to Distribute Going Forward?
Get Real: Stepping off the Hamster Wheel of Life
The Culture Perception Gaps Between Executives and Employees
Get Naked With Your Money: Wrinkles, Bulges And All!
Do This To Complete Your Vital Activities Each Day
Research22 hours ago
What the Fed Said to Spook the Markets
Advisor2 days ago
Cybersecurity and Privacy: Tips for People with Substantial Wealth
Brand Strategy2 days ago
A Different Way To Think About Leverage
Equities2 days ago
What You Need to Know about Investing in Healthcare AI
Markets3 days ago
The Fed’s Next Move May Be No Move at All
Markets3 days ago
Why The Next Recession Will Be Different
Equities3 days ago
What You’re Not Hearing About the China Trade War
Development3 days ago
The Best Practice Management Idea of the Year