Flexible work is changing lives & companies!
In the past, people often had to choose between their personal and professional goals; as sometimes it was too difficult to find a balance between the two. Now, thanks to recent technological advances, the typical work structure has started to change to meet the needs of employees, benefiting both companies and staff.
These changes started being implemented by companies to give flexibility to their employees by allowing them to make special arrangements on when and where they completed their workloads. Usually flexibility is associated with working parents; however, it has evolved to adapt to all types of lifestyles.
Workplace flexibility is becoming so important, that there is such a thing as Flexible Working Day, which falls on the 6th of June.
Common types of flexible work
- Flexible hours, also known as “flextime”
- Remote working or “flexplace” locations
- Arrangements for changing from full-time to part-time
- Alternative schedule
- Job sharing
- Expanded leave
- Phased retirement
- Partial retirement
Common reasons for requesting flexible work
The CPA Australia Workplace Flexibility Survey 2016, found that some of the main reasons for employees to seek work flexibility are:
- Caring for children
- Seeking work/life balance
- Caring for elders, partners or other relatives
- To undertake further education/training
- Leisure or sporting interests
- To volunteer for a cause
Key benefits for companies:
- Greater employee retention
- Higher levels of motivation in employees
- Increased productivity
- Employees are less likely to suffer from stress
- Being flexible supports a diverse workplace
- Addressing rapid globalisation
- Continuous operations across locations
- Reduced office space
- Increased commitment and involvement from employees to the company
Key benefits for employees:
- Greater work/life balance
- Achieving personal & professional goals at the same time
- Lower levels of stress
- In some cases, less commuting and a reduction of transport-related costs
- Dealing with unexpected life-changes while working
- Gaining a great leadership skill: Adaptability
- Being able to spend more time with family and friends
Flexible work – that works! HFM’s approach
If you are familiar with our team, you know that diversity is a crucial ingredient to our business success.
By having such a diverse group of people working for HFM, we have learned that everyone has different priorities that needs to be met outside of work.
Over the past decade, we have been implementing flexible work arrangements with our team members and have experienced first-hand the great advantages of this practice. Here are our approach and benefits so far:
Flextime / Staggered start & end time:
This practice allows HFM’s team members to vary their daily start and end times in order to meet their personal needs.
Some of our employees start as early as 6:00 am (while others are just waking up at this time); this means that our “early-workers” get to go home in the middle of the afternoon, while others are just having their afternoon coffee.
Besides the obvious benefits for the employees, one of the main gains for the company with this approach is the availability to help clients over a longer period throughout the day.
Flexplace / Remote working:
We have practices in place that allow our employees to work remotely whenever this is required, but we have gone a step further on this – here’s how:
- Overseas working: Some of our employees have communicated to our management team their desire to live in a foreign country as part of their personal development experiences. HFM has offered support to these employees by allowing them to work remotely from other countries.
- Working from home: This is available to all our employees when needed. Some of our team members have ongoing arrangements to work certain days of the week from home and other days from the office. This allows more time to be shared with their families and take care of their children/parents.
From full-time to part-time / Job sharing:
We have experienced situations where some of our employees have requested to switch from a full-time to a part-time contract in order to achieve personal goals. Making these changes has been possible by implementing work practices such as job sharing; where two employees jointly do a full-time workload, each on a part-time basis that suits them (half days, alternate days, etc.)
These are just some of the flexible work practices that we have been implementing – HFM actively promotes the concept of autonomy in all aspects of its core business strategies and values.
When autonomy is created in the workplace, employees tend to become more empowered and able to focus on goals and objectives which in turn increases job satisfaction.
The HFM leadership team advocates team and employee autonomy in all aspects of the organisation; this, in turn, fosters stronger relationships and produces a higher degree of trust between management and employees. Individuals within the company feel capable and motivated of being able to manage their own tasks efficiently, without the constant pressure from the leadership team.
Employees are encouraged to design and undertake their day to day activities how they wish with a focus on time management, achieving their objectives and goals for their tasks at hand with the continual support from their leadership team. Through the promotion of autonomy in the workplace, employees feel they have a greater responsibility for the outcomes of their work combined with the notion of work/life balance.
Given the number of advantages of flexible work arrangements for both employees and companies, executives at London Business School estimate that Majority will work remotely by 2020 which means that flexibility is becoming a decision-making factor for employees when choosing an employer, so it should also become a key strategy for companies to attract and retain talent.
For more information on this topic, we highly recommend you this report The Benefits of Flexible Working Arrangements.
Andrea Quintero – Business Strategy and Marketing Coordinator