flexible work

Forget the year-end bonus and stale fruitcake. This year, give your employees a holiday gift they’ll love for years to come. Fill their stockings with flexible work options.

Flex work refers to any arrangement outside of the typical 9-5 workday or 8-hour shift. This can mean flexibility with regards to place, like telecommuting, or with regards to hours, like flex-time or part-time.

So why should you give your employees the gift of flexible work options? And how can it benefit your organization?

Psst… We know it’s only October. If you want a full-fledged overhaul before the holiday season passes, now’s the time to get moving! Have a flexible system implemented by the holidays to help manage seasonal work and meet the increased demands of the holiday rush.

Who wants flexibility?

The majority of today’s workforce is willing to take a pay-cut in exchange for more flexibility in their schedules. According to a Families and Work report, 67% of employees believe that they can and should “have it all” with a strong work-life balance, achieved through flexible scheduling.

A new generation of workers is especially demanding this flexibility, as they want to find purpose and meaning in their work beyond the hours they’re in the office. According to a Qualtrics survey, 76% of Millennials would take a 3% pay-cut in exchange for flexible hours.

flex workBut it’s not just Millennials. A Mom Corps survey found that 45% of all working adults surveyed would be willing to give up to 9% of their salary for more flexible work. This pay-cut is likely reported higher than the 3% for Millennials because working adults tend to host the most family obligations, both from their children and aging parents.

In fact, 90% of workers surveyed by Families and Work stated that work-flex is an “extremely important” or “very important” aspect of the decision-making process when switching jobs or careers.

The craving for flexible work has generated an unparalleled growth in flexible work arrangements by companies that want to attract and retain top talent. In fact, a study by WorldatWork and FlexJobs found that 80% of companies offer some form of flexible work arrangements as a way to meet the demand of their employees.

However, simply offering flexible work doesn’t necessarily mean it’s working for your employees. 41% of employees report that access to flexible work isn’t widespread in their companies. It’s all too often that organizations claim flexibility without taking the steps to implement it.

This holiday season it’s time to make the change and implement practical flexibility that will truly benefit your employees and your business.

Why do workers want flexibility?

Flexible work options have been proven to help improve work-life balance for employees. A FlexJobs Super Study found that 97% of study participants reported that flexibility would positively impact their quality of life. 87% said it can lower their stress levels, and 75% said they believe it makes them healthier and happier.

1. Personal obligations

flexible workTaking care of family members is one of the most common reasons that workers want flexibility. They want to be home with their kids or aging parents when necessary. This can also help decrease childcare and eldercare costs drastically, if even only cutting down on a few hours per week.

Overall, flexible work allows for employees to better meet the needs of their personal obligations. They can be productive at work and at home. Flexible work arrangements allow employees to go to a doctors’ appointment, wait for the cable guy, and take their child to school. They can do what they need to do and still show up for work.

2. Cost reduction

Flexible work can also cut costs and hours on commuting. They are able to telecommute or commute during more reasonable hours. Avoiding rush hour traffic saves significantly on time, productivity, fuel costs, and energy levels.

3. Increased control

Employees feel they have more control over their life when they have flexible work arrangements. They are treated like adults with trust and autonomy. This creates a positive working environment that encourages engagement, motivation, and productivity.

4. Less burnout

Flexible work arrangements allow workers to take a break when they need it. They are able to lower their stress and work at times when they are freshest, in accordance with their productivity rhythms.

A University of Minnesota study found that workers with flexible schedules got more sleep, had higher energy levels, had reduced psychological distress, and could better take care of their health. This leads to lowered stress and emotional exhaustion, in turn boosting productivity and success.

Give your employees the gift of a healthy, autonomous, productive work-flex arrangement.

Why do organizations want flexibility?

flex work giftBest yet, flexibility is the gift that gives back.

Healthy, happy employees that are less stressed, more engaged, and highly productive save money and increase productivity. This, in turn, leads to decreased absenteeism from sick days. Flex-work also allows for individuals to take care of their personal obligations, like seeing a doctor or going to the gym, without “missing” that time off; this lowers the amount of necessary PTO.

This decreased absenteeism and increased productivity first and foremost improves the bottom line for companies. However, it also creates a culture that shows the organization cares for its employees’ well-being and achievement. A positive culture leads to increased retention and loyalty; in fact, 82% of flex-workers were more loyal than those who did not have flexible arrangements.

This helps not only with retention but also recruiting. Top talent is demanding flexible work. Your company needs to offer flexible options—promoting an engaged, productive, flexible culture—in order to pull in these candidates. This leads to lowered turnover costs and recruiting expenses.

How can you give flexible work?

flexible workThere are 7 key types of flexible work that might work for your industry: telecommuting, part-time, results-only work environment, job sharing, unlimited vacation, compressed week, and flexible scheduling. The two most common and versatile are telecommuting and flexible scheduling.

Telecommuting: Remote work is the most common form of flexible work, and it is good for any job that can be done remotely or virtually using tech advancements. Nearly 38% of U.S. employees report working from home at least one day per week. This can improve productivity, as nearly 93% of workers say they’re more productive away from the office. Furthermore, companies save up to $11,000 per tele-employee for cost reductions in equipment, on-site care, absenteeism, turnover, and more.

Flex-time: Flexible scheduling is the most adaptable work arrangement. It can be used for any industry or situation, including customer-facing jobs or hourly employees. Employees can generally schedule their own work hours around their lifestyle, family obligations, and flow states. According to research by the Cochrane Library, employees that have control over their own schedules have significant improvements in health and productivity.

Modern software like Forge has made scheduling flex-time simple for managers to implement and employees to use.

But there’s one key aspect to ensuring your flex gift is a success…

You can’t just offer flexible work. Don’t give a gift and then take it back. If you want to reap the full benefits of a flexible work situation, you need to ensure that it’s consistently rolled out. Not all employees will require the same flexible work options. Joe the accountant may be able to crunch the numbers from home, while John the salesperson may want flex-hours in-office around his son’s school schedule.

Flexibility is not a one-size-fits-all solution. As such, employers shouldn’t offer a single form of flexibility and hope that it works out. Offering a variety and working with your employees ensures flex success.

The Bottom Line

As the New Year approaches, it’s time for a flex work overhaul. Give your employees a gift they’ll love this holiday season: a strong work-life balance through flexible work arrangements. They’ll thank you with higher engagement, lower turnover, improved culture, and enhanced productivity. You’ll see an increase in retention and recruiting and a decrease in costs, time off, and health-related concerns. Flexible work is the gift that keeps on giving.

Do you want an inexpensive gift with a huge ROI? Offer self-scheduling with Forge! Create a Forge Employer account now to give the gift that gives 10x!