How Important are Flexible Work Environments?

Not too long ago, the biggest factor between a candidate selecting your company over your competitors was salary. Those days are over. Top candidates are much more likely to weigh a variety of factors before accepting a job offer. And one of the top considerations is the option for flexible work environments. 

According to a 2018 survey from FlexJobs, the top factors influencing a candidate’s decision:

  • Work-life balance

  • Salary

  • Flexible work options

Flexible work environments are advantageous to companies, too. They receive more applicants from qualified employees, see increased retention rates, and save on overhead costs. Managers and supervisors note an increase in engagement and productivity as well. Younger employees tend to enjoy fluid work days and the choice to work from the office, a coffee shop, or their living room. 

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of offering a flexible work environment is its ability for employees to effectively balance their professional and personal schedules. 

How many companies offer flexible work environments?

94% of employers surveyed by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans said they provide some form of flexible scheduling for their employees. But flexible work environments is, well, flexible. Some companies might offer full-time remote work, while others accept the occasional coffee shop trip. According to the survey, the most popular flexible options include:

  • Flexible work times for situations involving sick children or family events

  • Flexible start and quitting times

  • Working from home

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Are there downsides to flexible work environments?

For all the perks of working from home or clocking out whenever the work is done, there are some disadvantages to flexible work times. The biggest disadvantage can be the lack of connection among team members if everyone is constantly working out of the office. Remote workers may start to feel disconnected from your company and their coworkers. Plus, if managers have a number of full-time remote workers, they may think employees are abusing the pliverage by doing laundry or running errands instead of working. 

So is flexible work right for your company? Consider the following questions.

  1. Are your employees asking for flexible work?

If a majority of your employees are asking for  flexible work environments, think about how it could affect your business. For example, if your company requires a lot of physical work operating on shifts, or a hands-on approach, flexible scheduling is likely a bad idea. But if you manage employees doing a lot of programming, digital marketing, data entry, or the like, some option of flexible work can likely be incorporated. Consider offering remote work for one day a week to start, or compressed hourly schedules to improve employees’ work-life balance.

2. How driven are your employees?

If you notice your employees are easily distracted at the office and have a hard time meeting deadlines in the office, working from home is, sadly, not going to be a success. Be sure to think about individuals and their ability to stay motivated instead of issuing a blanket policy. However, this leads us to our next question.

3. Could my business be served a discrimination claim?

For example, you can’t implement a policy for flexible work to parents only. If you’re going to offer a flexible work option, you’re required to implement the policy across the company (where it’s appropriate) so you don’t discriminate against protected groups or individuals. 

4. Have you created a formal policy?

If you’ve decided flexible work environments are suitable to your company, be sure to write a formal policy detailing the policy. You should explicitly state when employees have to be in the office, (say, every monday before 9am) or when they must be accessible if they’re working remotely. An important note to include is that the privilege can be revoked if an employer feels an employee is abusing the policy. 

Dominion can help you manage flexible work environments

From remote punching to performance reviews to an online employee self service, Dominion is at the forefront of modern HR software for companies of all sizes. We help professionals pay and manage their employees easily and accurately, so you can focus on building your business. Simplify your everyday process by requesting a demo!