How to Leverage Workplace Flexibility To Retain Talent
4/25/2022 | By Marella Gimenez
How to Leverage Workplace Flexibility To Retain Talent
As the work environment evolves, businesses and institutions have been adjusting in many different ways - from workplace flexibility to remote working options, and other arrangements to make it a safe environment for employees and employers alike.
New work practices are slowly being explored and these various arrangements have played an important role in honing better work environments for professionals. With the shift currently ongoing, it’s important to understand that these usually overlooked factors actually play a big role in talent retention.
While lots of professionals take into consideration salary, job description, and company culture, seeing companies value the importance of flexibility in the workplace also sets certain leverage overall.
What is workplace flexibility and why does it matter?
Flexible work arrangements have proven to be one of the main factors job hunters find enticing when looking for career opportunities. But what really is workplace flexibility?
In a nutshell, workplace flexibility is the means of being able to quickly adapt to one’s working environment when certain risks arise and the current context changes. In the context of the world’s current situation right now, it’s the privilege of being able to choose from more than just one working environment in order to avoid certain circumstances which can affect safety.
Some examples of flexibility in the workplace involve the location, while some focus more on the set-up. True enough, the benefits of flexibility in the workplace reaps through the lifestyle of employees as it allows them to have more quality time, and avoids burnout in a lot of ways possible.
Most of the time, the benefits of flexible workplace options can get people confused as to how it actually works. With this, it’s important to understand and debunk misconceptions about work-life flexibility, so one can better consider it as a non-negotiable in the next job hunt.
Hybrid vs. Flexible Working
When looking at job postings, sometimes job hunters mix the real definition of the two. However, distinguishing options for remote working flexibility and its many different types is important so that you, as a professional, can manage the expectations once the job officially begins.
First and foremost, what is the difference between hybrid versus flexible working?
On the contrary, the usage of the two can often get mixed up. The way that flexibility is used in job posts can confuse people leading to unhappy working conditions just because of the wrong usage of terms. With that, let us differentiate the two:
Flexible working is when the workplace provides, supports, and allows employees the means to adjust to changing contexts and circumstances when the need presents itself. Similar to how in the pandemic, lots of jobs had to shift to a work-from-home set-up, this can also change once conditions are safer. Other than this, it can also mean being able to work even from a different timezone, because conditions are adjustable and necessary.
These flexible working conditions allow for employees to have better work-life balance, and allow for talent retention. As the benefits overflow, leveraging workplace flexibility for engagement and productivity really does wonders because it goes past the traditional and burnout-prone nine-to-five working hours. Only thus, limits people from exploring their other needs and interests, which is also important for every person.
On the other hand, hybrid working is having a work set-up that combines both remote and on-site work environments which are usually scheduled and agreed upon before the employee officially starts. It does not have a certain degree of certainty when it comes to working hours, but the location as to where the employee is reporting from changes in how many days a week.
The difference between the two is more than just the work arrangements, as flexible working highlights being able to focus on output rather than the number of hours put in a day.
Workplace Flexibility in the Philippines
These flexible working times have definitely been more popular in the Philippines with the ongoing pandemic being handled. Compared to other countries, it’s no surprise that the Philippines has been managing the risks of the pandemic slower than others. With this, businesses’ needs to shift have been more needed than ever.
Filipinos have always been so used to the nine to five working hour set-up, and because of this, having workplace flexibility became very attractive so much so the idea of having more work-life balance.
With the Philippine workforce adapting to this shift, businesses are also learning to place more importance on employee well-being, other than just functional excellence because in doing so, talent retention is much better.
Managing Flexible Work Arrangements
Most of the time, employers are hesitant to shift the traditional work setup into flexible ones because of, as it is, tradition, and fear of change.
However, because of the pandemic, many unnecessary working traditions have been proven to become false with more and more people realizing that good performance is really more based on output than on working hours.
Most of the time, and also backed up by science, longer working hours can just lead to even more tired employees. And with tired employees as your workforce, outputs can become half-hazard or mediocre. In comparison to healthier working hours coming from flexible employees, productivity and satisfaction rates are much higher, and it also helps the company grow in many aspects.
How To Implement Flexible Work Arrangements
Understandably, shifting into flexible work arrangements can be fearsome as a lot of what’s needed in work arrangements is heavily influenced by external factors. With this, managing flexible work arrangements are heavily important because it affects both employers and employees, in the long run.
With that, tips on implementing flexible work arrangements are to of course manage and set expectations properly so that employees also know what they are getting themselves into. One of the mistakes of employers when it comes to shifting into work flexibility is not being able to disclose information properly to employees.
Because of this, a lot of employees have the wrong idea of what their working conditions are, leading them to job hop instead of staying longer in the company.
Another tip would be to highlight job-sharing arrangements. Truly, a flexible work arrangement can mean letting go of longer working hours. With this, having teams that understand what their job delineation is, will greatly affect how each individual can be a better team player.
Establishing clear job arrangements is important so that each person knows what their responsibilities are and equal allocations are set per person. This allows each team member to understand the outputs and workload so that when some outputs are missing, the pointing fingers can be avoided, and accountability is encouraged.
Examples of Flexibility in the Workplace
Flexible work arrangements can definitely be implemented in more than one way. This includes the work environment, required working hours, non-traditional work weeks, and dynamic job sharing. For employers and HR practitioners who wish to look into this deeper, here’s a list of what you can actually do to better align workplace flexibility:
1. Offering part-time positions
Most often than not, opening positions for part-time employees allow employees to have a choice whether or not they can take on a full week's deliverables worth their time or not. On the side of the employer, it also gives them the right amount of expectations when it comes to their employee and their outputs.
2. Flexible working time
As mentioned earlier, having flexible working times allow for employees to focus more on outputs rather on completing working hours. Sometimes, overworked employees end up getting less work done because they are more fixated on the ticking clock. Looking forward to getting out of work seems like a normal thing, but this also affects how one can become more productive because of certain parameters expected in this traditional set-up.
3. Work From Home Set-up
Offering work from home set-ups, on top of flexible working hours are also some tips that flexibility in the workplace can be implemented. On top of being able to provide employees with their family and personal time, it also helps people get the job done even if they’re not at your company’s main office. As long as they have the right equipment and the appropriate environment, they can drive the results needed.
Benefits of Workplace Flexibility
Workplace flexibility definitely offers lots of benefits to both employers, employees, and even stakeholders. Because of its output-driven culture, it allows more people in the system to have higher satisfaction rates, thus, having talent retained better and customers become even more loyal.
Again, having the option of work-life balance should definitely be a need and not a privilege. At this time and age, shifting into non-traditional working set-ups actually presents more benefits than expected because of how it influences good working behaviors. Allowing employees to focus on their output rather than the hours they’ve clocked in can help their mindsets become more proactive than reactive. As result, driving good performance and good team dynamics.
As for employers, having workplace flexibility allows people to retain more. Because of the benefits that non-traditional set-ups have, employees turn to these opportunities that allow them to grow, rather than just operate like robots.
Good workplace flexibility also leads to better talent retention and is also proven to be more enticing to fresh graduates and job hunters. And of course, what company is successful without its people? The very idea of having powerful employees in a company is what allows start-ups to become more revolutionary and with this, the potential is more than just acknowledged, but also developed.
Because of the pandemic, many employers and employees have realized that a good professional experience is influenced by many different factors - working conditions, working hours, working culture, and so much more. Because of this, the leverage of workplace flexibility has presented itself with more opportunities for employees and companies, leading more and more people to value its benefits.
Workplace flexibility is definitely a set-up more companies should look into because it doesn’t just give employees a better working experience, but it also drives the people to give more value to the quality of outputs. With this, employers and team leaders can focus more on every team’s growth, rather than being able to meet the bare minimum.
In conclusion, more companies should look into the benefits of shifting into flexible workplaces because of how it can drive a whole culture into better horizons. Overall, with good working culture, growth and success are definitely what you can expect from your company.