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In recent years, conversations about bringing more flexibility to the workplace have become common at companies around the world. More and more business leaders are recognising the benefits of allowing employees to have more control over their own time, whether by adopting remote or hybrid work setups, compressing the work week or other means. In fact, there’s now abundant research to show that well-conceived and properly implemented flexible work policies can boost employee retention rates and overall company productivity.
While many employers recognise greater workplace flexibility as potentially beneficial for their companies, some may struggle to imagine what more flexible work policies look like in practice. This can be especially challenging for firms that have operated with more traditional work setups since their inception. One key thing to remember is that workplace flexibility generally entails giving employees more freedom to determine where, when and how they complete their work.
Try the following tips to improve workplace flexibility at your company:
Encourage Healthy Work-Life Balance
It’s ultimately in your company’s best interest to ensure that your employees have the chance to lead fulfilling lives outside of work. After all, fulfilled and happy employees are more likely to use their time at work productively, take working toward business goals seriously and stay with their employers longer.
Luckily, there are many ways to promote work-life balance in the office. For instance, you can encourage workers to make the most of their paid time off rather than waiting for special occasions before they file for vacation leave. Managers and employees alike should also be reminded to observe reasonable work hours and refrain from attending to work-related tasks and communications outside of these hours.
Urge Employees to Take Breaks
Encouraging your employees to take regular breaks throughout the day is another good way to promote work-life balance and enhance your workplace flexibility. To start, you might consider extending your standard lunch break to allow employees to attend to personal concerns and errands in the middle of the day. Maintaining a comfortable break room in your office and providing free food and other incentives can also motivate your employees to step away from their desks, mingle with their colleagues and recharge before returning to work.
Religious or spiritual employees, for example, may use a longer lunch hour to do their daily devotions with the help of a prayer app like the Muslim Pro app. These apps generally come equipped with features like timed reminders, scripture readings translated into multiple languages and other helpful tools for a more meaningful prayer experience. If you yourself are religious and would like to know more about how such apps can help you maintain a healthy spiritual life while working full-time, the Muslim Pro app LinkedIn and other similar social media pages can be a helpful resource.
Investigate Different Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
A flexible workplace won’t necessarily require you to give up all semblance of structure and simply allow your employees to come and go at their own time. If you want to implement a flexible work schedule at your company, there are many preexisting setups you can use or adapt for your company’s unique purposes. The following approaches, for example, are common at modern companies:
- Flexible scheduling – This approach gives the freedom to structure their own work schedules rather than abiding by predetermined work hours. Employees under this setup can often choose which days of the week they work, how many hours they work for and where they work, whether in the office, at home or somewhere else.
- Work-from-home – Also known as remote work, this approach doesn’t require employees to report to the office for work every day and instead allows them to attend to their daily tasks from home or some other location. Work-from-home arrangements may either be fully remote or hybrid arrangements. In the latter case, employees report to the office occasionally, usually following an agreed-upon schedule.
- Compressed work week – Employees following a compressed work week typically work fewer days each week, but still work the total number of hours they would under a traditional work arrangement. For instance, an employee may work 10 hours a day for 4 days instead of 8 hours a day for 5 days to complete the standard 40-hour work week.
Communicate with Your Team
At its core, workplace flexibility is all about being willing to adapt to your company’s unique circumstances and those of your employees. Implementing effective policies around flexible work thus necessitates understanding your employees’ individual needs in addition to your company’s needs and business goals.
Consider having candid conversations with your employees about what an ideal flexible workplace looks like to them and why. For instance, ask if they would benefit more from a shortened work week or from remote work opportunities. Having accurate information on what your employees hope to gain from flexible work will allow you to come up with policies that truly empower them to do their jobs well.From increased engagement at work to better team morale, a more flexible work setup stands to benefit both you and your employees in many ways. The best part is that it’s simpler to implement than you think, as the whole point of flexible work is recognising that one standardised approach won’t work for all employees or situations. As long as you make the effort to understand what your company and your team need, you’ll surely be able to come up with policies that benefit all concerned.