This article is addressed to everyone. Whether you’re searching for a flexible work-life balance or looking to offer workflex to your employees, you need flexible work arrangements. Flexible work benefits everyone, as proven by the recent, unparalleled upsurge in both companies offering flexible work and employees searching for flexible arrangements.
This article is a quick cheat sheet to see all of the best benefits of flexible work. If you’re presenting the case for flexible work to your boss or HR team, we’ve outlined your arguments below to win the conversation.
What Is Flexible Work?
“Flexible work” is a blanket term for a variety of working arrangements that give employees control of how, where, and when they work.
There are several types of flexible work arrangements, from self-scheduling to remote work to unlimited vacation. When discussing flexible work for you and your business, it’s important to understand what type of work arrangement would be most relevant to you. For example, if you work an hourly job, you may prefer a self-scheduling system like Forge. If you’re a consultant, you might want part-time remote work.
The best part about flexible work is that it’s flexible—you make your work arrangement based on what you and the business need. This generally means that different employees will need different flexible work arrangements, even within the same company or department.
The Growth Of Flexible Work
There are two major causes for the growth of flexible work in recent years:
- A growth in the number of workers balancing work and family, especially with the increase of moms in the workforce
- Technology advancements that enable constant, global communication
With this growth, America has seen new proposals for flex-work laws and regulations. A number of bills proposed in 2017 are protecting the employee’s “right to request.” This means that employees would have the right to request flexible work arrangements without retribution or retaliation from their company.
Note that this is the right to request, but the company would still legally be allowed to deny the request. This means that you need to present a strong case for flexible work when you use your “right to request.” How will you convince your employer of the benefits for you personally as well as for the business? How can you win your request?
Below you’ll find 13 statements of benefits that you can discuss in the meeting with your employer. Personalize these to your own needs to ensure the right flexible work arrangement.
Benefits For Employees
- I can better meet my family needs and personal obligations. I can take care of my children and spend more time at home, which also allows for a better work-life balance. I can take care of my parents and aging elders. I can also be home to meet repairmen and take care of my child when they’re sick without taking days off. All of this together will also save me money on childcare and homecare costs.
- I will have greater autonomy over my working environment. This appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit and my desire to control my own work-life balance.
- I will be healthier. I will be able to workout and visit the doctor when I need to. I will have lower stress, reduced burnout, and less of a work overload. This will, in turn, make me more productive.
- I can work in accordance with my productivity rhythms. I can schedule my hours when I feel freshest and most productive, whether I’m an early bird or a night owl. I will be less distracted by personal obligations, as I have the flexibility to handle those before coming to work.
- I will save time and money on commuting. I can avoid traffic during rush hours, or I can reduce my time on the road by working from home. This is also good for the environment and reducing my personal carbon footprint.
Benefits For Employers
- Flexible work will reduce absenteeism and tardiness. Workers will call out less for personal obligations because they have the flexibility to address those concerns in tandem with their work schedule.
- You will have increased employee morale, engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty to the company. When you care for your employees, they will care for you in return. In fact, 82% of millennials are more loyal when their employer offers flexible work.
- You will have reduced turnover and increased retention. People are less likely to look for other jobs if their satisfaction and loyalty is high. They won’t be tempted to look for jobs with more flexible options if they already have a great work-life balance at your organization.
- You will have higher productivity. People are able to work in accordance with their productivity rhythms, and they can better avoid personal distractions. This helps increase output while on the clock (and on the company’s dime).
- You will have a great employer image and reputation. Today’s employers of choice are no longer the ones that pay the most; they’re those that understand the value of work-life balance. In fact, 43% of workers would choose flexible work over a higher salary.
- You will be able to have a wider talent pool with new sources of workers. You’re no longer limiting your employees based on location or schedule. “Hours” are no longer a barrier to entry for the best and brightest.
- You’ll be able to increase your hours of operation. As a customer-facing business, self-scheduling allows more people to be available for customers and clients for an extended number of hours.
- You’ll reduce your environmental impact. You’ll have fewer commuters, especially during rush hour. You can also have less physical space if people can work from home or their own schedules. This will further boost your employer image as a caring company.
Why Flexibility Isn’t A Problem
Here come the “buts” from your employer. “But we can’t do it because…” How do you address their concerns?
“We’re not ready to set a precedent of flexibility.”
Employers are often hesitant to give one person flexibility, because then they set a precedent that everyone can have flexible work arrangements. They often worry then that they won’t have the HR manpower to keep up with different working arrangements for each employee.
Self-scheduling takes away these concerns altogether. People are still held accountable for getting their work done, but they schedule their own hours. HR can still monitor their hours spent on the clock, but they don’t have to follow each individual person’s schedules—they only have to count the hours. This actually creates less work for HR with regards to scheduling, further helping to optimize your labor schedule.
“How will we have meetings?”
Collaboration is one of the biggest pushes against flexible work arrangements. However, with new technology platforms, virtual working is easier than ever. In fact, most offices already use online technology to collaborate—even when their desks are next to each other. Examples of this tech include Slack, Trello, Google, and Skype.
“We need people present for our clients.”
Flexible work doesn’t have to mean working from home (although it can). Self-scheduling with a system like Forge ensures people are still in the office, storefront, or restaurant… just on their own time.
In fact, the more flexible the schedule, the more easily you can fill those hours. Understaffing with a customer-facing business is almost always solved with a wider talent pool. You can build that wider talent pool by opening up the hours to a variety of self-scheduling workers.
Moreover, people are able to work in accordance with their productivity flows. This means that the employees interacting with your customers are always fresh and ready to work. They can provide higher service to your clients than a stressed and burnt out employee.
“Some employees need structure.”
The beauty of flexible work is that each person can have his or her own flexibility. Each person controls his or her schedule. In the same way, employees that don’t want flexibility don’t have to have it. Flexible work is flexible—which means it can also be rigid if need be. If an employee needs structure, their boss can still provide them that structure by setting their hours and location.
The Bottom Line
Flexibility is no longer a cause for debate. It has proven benefits for employees and employers alike. You have the right (and soon the legal right) to request flexible work arrangements. If you approach the conversation prepared to present all the benefits of flexible work, you’re more likely to achieve the desired outcome you want.
You can have the work-life balance you desire. You just have to go after it.
Go after it right now.
If you’re an employee, sign up for a FREE Forge Team Member account to have access to flexible self-scheduling jobs today.
If you’re an employer, sign up now to start managing flexible work, widening your talent pool, and boosting your business’s productivity.