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Today, flexible office culture has become a norm, and companies are fast catching up with it, resulting in a number of benefits such as attracting top talent, increasing overall business performance, and more.

Below are six benefits of flexible working that may entice employers and employees to bid farewell to the traditional work culture:

Retain best employees

The freedom to operate from home or travel to the office a few days a week helps employees manage their personal and professional lives well. In today’s competitive scenario where firms need to hire the best talent, such flexibility will be an added advantage for them to stay ahead of the curve.

According to a recent survey, 30% of the respondents claimed to resign since their employer didn’t promote a flexible work culture. This indicates that the bargaining power tilts towards employees when it is about their mental and physical well-being.

In fact, for companies, it’s an advantage as they can hold on to their top talent by creating a favorable work environment to perform. The report also mentions that 80% of the respondents would be loyal to their company if it’s lenient and respects their personal life. As a stress-free professional life is usually measured by how happy an employee is achieving work-life balance, ensuring a flexible work environment can be a significant part of the solution.

Attract talent from abroad

Being adaptable helps a firm in breaking the traditional mindset and moving towards an inclusive environment. When a company thinks on these lines, it promotes cross-cultural synergy that can attract talent from anywhere in the world.

While it does benefit local employees in various ways, the employer also gets access to a broader pool of experts. This action impacts the organization’s productivity positively due to vibrant ideas flowing in from all over the globe.

Google’s Cloud team believes in a “Culture Add” hiring method that supports the above idea. It has made it possible to gain deeper customer insights, build adaptable technology, and reach out to more locations.

Adopt a “Human-First” approach

When the pandemic started, people working remotely expected employers to look after their mental and physical well-being. Even though it was a growing trend pre-Covid, the lockdown periods put a spotlight on it.

IBM’s Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer, Nickle LaMoreaux, says in an interview, “We wanted to ensure we were doing everything possible to support our employees, especially as work and home life integrated in ways many IBMers had never experienced.”

The company trained its 30,000 managers to support their subordinates through the tough times. Their action created a sense of belonging, thus nurturing professional relationships. IBM also relied on technology to help its employees sail through the rough patch last year. The specially designed bot AskHR was available 24/7 to address redressals and grievances.

For a flexible work culture to succeed, a “human-first” approach is necessary. If companies think on the lines of IBM, it will definitely assure employees that they are not alone and add to a number of benefits associated with the method.

Create an agile work environment

Hot-desking or Hybrid work are some of the many forms of a flexible job environment. They allow a company and its employees to be agile and adapt to a changing trend in the form of an unassigned desk.

The ‘unassigned’ workplace provides a creative route to complete a task. This trend also takes inspiration from the “work from home” model, which peaked during the lockdown. Remember the time when you could sit anywhere at your home to finish a task?

The possibility of not being tied to a certain desk in the office seems quite exciting in this form of setting. A workplace based on employees’ choices provides an entirely new perspective that accommodates their individuality and various demands.

A place that prioritizes an employee’s likes and dislikes is changing the perception of companies across the globe. It has also given birth to new roles such as Community Manager that combines HR, hospitality, and facility management.

A push to productivity

Between 2015 and 2019, Iceland executed large-scale trials of a 4-days work week (35-36 hours/week) without any changes to the payment of their employees. Autonomy – a think tank, and Association for Sustainability and Democracy – a market research agency, conducted the study.

During the trial, there was an improvement in work-life balance, employee well-being, and team efforts, while one of the most exciting findings was that the trial didn’t impact government and council’s revenue. As a result, according to the research, 86% of the country adopted shorter working days format after the conclusion of the trials.

Employees in Iceland reported feeling energetic and less worried. They spent shorter time in their offices and found more opportunities to engage in other activities such as exercising, pursuing hobbies, and household responsibilities. This also improved their health. After all, the perception that “fewer hours worked equals less work” appears wrong. Productivity might be enhanced by innovating traditional methods of managing people.

While profits are an essential factor for an organization’s success, decision-makers should realise that policies improving employees’ health have increased their efficiency. A flexible work culture like the one tested in Iceland can be one of the methods for developing a sustainable environment.

Decentralization of work

There are two conflicting world views in the quest to answer the latest challenge the business leadership faces. One is traditional, focusing on time and shared space for effective management. The second is more recent, goal-driven, emphasizing coordinated efforts by the right people regardless of shared space or time.

Why should you go for a decentralized approach?

  • Your search for the best employee isn’t restricted by an x-mile radius. Your hiring is based on the right match.
  • The rise of individuality has led people to take care of themselves the way they want to. A passion for life translates to happy employees.
  • The backbone of a purpose-driven system is harmony within the teams. If employees see themselves as a part of the team, it instils a sense of loyalty in the group, the company, and productivity.
  • Finally, by saving on physical overheads, you allow yourself to spend more on your people and their well-being.

InVision, a design platform for startups to collaborate, follows the same method. All of its 800 employees are scattered across the globe. Despite this decentralized approach, the startup has reached 1.9 Billion USD in valuation and achieved unicorn status. An innovative system like the one described above paves the way for a productive business model.

Ensure a better future through flexibility

Employers need to evaluate many factors to motivate employees and unlock their potential.

There is no single solution to adopting the new work culture, and companies must figure out what is the best fit for them. For example, a startup can opt for a decentralized approach to recruit across the globe and eventually save on rents, electricity, and conveyance. At the same time, a mid-size company can prefer hot-desking or hybrid work to increase efficiency. All this depends on the organization’s short-term and long-term goals, industry, and readiness to embrace the vast opportunities that the emerging work culture can offer.

The timing has never been better for organizations to shift gears and accelerate towards a holistic system. And it is up to the companies to walk this path of transformation and ensure their businesses have a better future through flexibility.

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