Workplace Flexibility is Increasing, And This Is Why
The days of having to clock into work at the office are long gone for some employees. With the steady advancement of technology, many workers can now perform their duties from most anywhere that they can connect to the internet or Wi-Fi. The results are in for performance in workplace flexibility, and they are quite encouraging.
According to a recent study from Werk, a company that guides employers with technology and corporate insights into workplace flexibility, over 50% of current employees would choose another employer if it meant having greater flexibility in the place and time of performing their work. Many employees are requesting flexibility with their current employers as well, with varying degrees of success. Working parents, students, caregivers, creatives, and those who are able to perform their duties outside the office comprise the population looking for opportunities to move out of a cubicle and into a more productive environment.
Workplace flexibility looks different for various roles, but technology is making it possible for even more entry-level positions to have some amount of variety in their place of work. For example, office telephone systems can now be disconnected at the office and used at home, with calls coming directly into the line without call forwarding. In other words, if your office phone is portable, you may be able to plug it in at home and receive calls exactly the same as you would sitting in your office. Cloud-based technology gives employees access to their work documents from remote locations, and of course, emails may be checked from most anywhere using a mobile phone.
Some employers work with multi-state and/or international clients. With video meeting options such as Go-To Meeting, Cisco Video Conferencing and others, companies have found ways to save time and money on travel and still have effective—possibly even more productive—meetings with employees and clients all over the globe. This also enables employers to assist remote employees with successful home offices, as such capabilities are high quality and lower cost due to the competition of various providers. In addition, employers can access means of checking in on employees, holding them accountable and building trust.
The opportunity to work from a remote location and at various times has proven effective in helping to achieve work-life balance as well as improved health and wellness for many employees. Being able to care for a sick child, participate in a school activity, or meet with clients in a less formal setting have created an atmosphere of appreciation for careers and employers who value these opportunities. Creative individuals find inspiration in getting out of the office. A change of scenery is beneficial in making important decisions, team building, and strategic planning. But even with these facts, of the 96% of employees desiring workplace flexibility only about 42% have options. Women, in particular, see an even greater gap, with only 34% having access to the flexibility they need to fulfill their various roles at work and home at optimal levels.
The days of being chained to a desk from 8—5 are quickly changing. Discuss with your employer the possibility of occasional workplace flexibility, but do your homework first! Be able to present a viable business case for the advantages, cost-savings, and corporate and personal benefits. Suggest a peer-review of various remote work options, present data-driven technology support capabilities, and be willing to think outside the box. Not all companies or employees can logically have the opportunity to change the location and time for performing their work, so be open-minded to the limitations as well as creative solutions. Most employers are willing to listen to new ideas when they are accompanied with data, real solutions, and heart. If your employer already offers workplace flexibility, consider how you can benefit, keeping in mind that you should always remain accountable, completely honest, and willing to be flexible yourself when your employer requires it. You may find yourself working your dream job in no time, without having to leave the company you love!
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