As more and more companies are doing away with the traditional methods of working in an office, it is amazing to see them switching to flexi-work culture. The vast variety of modern applications and SAAS-based software available to us have made life easy for several working professionals as well as businesses because flexible work culture comes with a host of benefits.
However, it is important to understand that flexi-work may not necessarily mean that the employee is working from home. It simply means working from anywhere, be it a café, during the commute or from the comfort of their home office. A good internet connection and a laptop are just enough to expect an employee working in a flexible work environment to get the job done!
But hidden beneath the layers of advantages of flexi-work culture are some hard truths that organisations need to address, to actually call it a win-win for both employer and employees. Let’s explore the truth about flexi-work culture and if it is really helping organisations!
Is Flexi-Work Culture Really Helping Organisations?
Before we get to the part of revealing whether flexi-work culture is a good option or not, let’s first understand what constitutes remote work culture, the different aspects of it, and what does it bring along with it.
Flexible work culture is nothing but a form of organisation culture where the team members connect with each other, regardless of when, where, and how they work. The work transcends physical workspaces, stationary desktop computers or the typical log-in and log-out time structure.
Instead, employees are encouraged to get the job done at their own pace, keeping in line with the deadlines and staying connected to the team if they are working remotely.
For the at-office team, it means flexible work hours depending on their schedule and availability. Organisations worldwide are altering their age-old practices and trying to imbibe flexible work culture due to the various benefits associated with it.
Previous research results have shown that more than 60% of employees work before or after standard business hours. That explains the need for adopting a flexi-work culture to show support towards your employees and letting them work at their most efficient self.
Benefits of Having a Flexi-Work Culture:
1. Happier Team:
A happy team is a productive team. A study conducted on remote workers revealed that 86% of them believe they are as productive or even more productive working remotely as compared to those who are in the office full-time.
Job seekers value flexibility as one of the most important aspects of a company. Giving your team the independence to work remotely can lead to gains. A part of offering a flexi-work culture entails that the employees have a better chance to maintain a good work-life balance.
This ensures the employees are happier, more productive and definitely better engaged with the company.
2. Reduced Costs:
A flexi-work culture not only helps employees save on their fuel costs but also reduces business overheads. Everyday expenses associated with the office space such as lease rent, lighting, and other expenditures also reduce considerably.
3. Attract Top Talent:
When it comes to adopting flexi-work culture or a remote work environment, you open your options to attract better talent. You can find specialised professionals as you are no longer restricted to a specific geographic location. The HR team can put their focus on figuring out the apt talent pool based on their skill sets and work experience, rather than filtering out resumes based on the location.
4. Reduced Turnover:
Employee turnover is a challenging aspect, one that most organisations are facing today. Adopting a remote work culture offers a solution to this problem. As per the 2017 report of State of Remote Work by Owl Labs, companies who offer a remote work culture experience a 25% lower retention rate, giving a clear indication that having remote work policy in place is a valuable retention tool for companies.
By giving the employees what they need, which is less wastage of time commuting to work or flexible work hours, you are letting them retain their jobs in a much better way.
How Flexi-Work Culture Can Negatively Impact Your Company
1. Work Ethic May Be Sacrificed:
Most of the staff will realise their responsibility towards work and give their best even when working remotely. However, there is always a chance that some may misuse it and take advantage of the situation.
There may be instances of some employees slacking off to meet friends or just disappearing when they should really be working. It can be a challenge to hold them accountable and HRs should be able to figure out a way to monitor the time and track productivity for such employees.
2. Difficult to Communicate:
There may be hundreds of new channels of communication available today, but this can, in fact, prove to be more overwhelming. There is a danger of some important information going unread or unseen or slipping through the cracks in such cases.
It’s important that the person on the other side should be available to receive all communications, else there are chances of huge misinformation and possible work delays.
3. Difficult to Maintain Company Culture:
A company’s culture is defined by the people working in it. Under remote work culture, the employees may miss out on making connections with the rest of the team, as they would have otherwise done in a physical office.
You cannot simply stop by their desk for a quick word or have a face-to-face meeting in case you have something urgent to discuss, the personal contact which is so important is missing in remote work culture.
4. Difficult to Maintain Security:
At some level, remote work culture also means increasing the risk of security breaches, especially if your staff works with sensitive data. For example, the loss of a laptop could lead to a serious data breach and even fraud.
Therefore, it may be important to adopt appropriate password management programs and use encrypted software.
How to Find the Right Balance Between ‘Flexi’ and a Traditional At-office Workforce?
It is important to understand that work flexibility can prove to be a boon for the company, but can spiral everything into chaos if not implemented properly and every employee is not given the necessary training to acclimatize themselves with the change.
For an organisation to work well, here’s how it is possible to strike a balance between flexi and a traditional at-office workplace:
- Choose the apt work flexibility that will suit your company’s needs and what you as a company can afford to offer your employees, such as, FlexTime, telecommuting, compressed workweek, job sharing, permanent part-time arrangements etc.
- It is also important to clearly communicate with your employees the flexible practices that will be adopted and what exactly is expected out of them. Everyone should receive clear guidelines along with the protocol that needs to be followed.
- To help the organisation foster a positive work culture, all the employees including remote and at-office ones should be encouraged to have at least a quarterly or monthly meet. This will help them stay on the same page and feel more cohesive as a team.
- Open the floor for suggestions and discussions with the team, as nothing helps a company-culture flourish better than the people who work there. Analyse the needs of your team members, consider their inputs, and work out a policy that suits both the flexible workers as well as at-office employees.
Flexi-work culture is a no-brainer for organisations looking to build a better corporate image both in the minds of current and potential employees, but it is essential to have proper flexible policies in place, that will help a company grow at a steady pace.