FM trends: do flexible work arrangements actually benefit companies?
Flexible work arrangements have become increasingly popular in the offices of today's global economy. The trend includes work benefits like telecommuting, hot desking arrangements, adjustable work hours and compressed work weeks. But does flex working actually benefit companies or is it simply a work fad? We looked at several studies and surveys to determine the answer. Here's what we found.
Flex work can improve engagement and productivity
Many firms have set out to understand the relationship between productivity and flexible work; the findings suggest that incorporating flex work policies can boost employee productivity and engagement.
According to a WorldatWork survey, over 60% of respondents believed flex work practices had a positive effect on employee engagement. In a separate study, Gallup noted that remote employees tend to be more engaged than their in-office counterparts, but those who balanced both work styles were the most engaged.
PWC found that flexibility and productivity are connected; in a global study, 72% of firms self-reported a direct link between their flex work practices and increased productivity.
Flex work can help companies with competitive hiring
Successful companies put an emphasis on hiring the best—and flex arrangements can be a notable influence. A Deloitte study found that 92% of millennials ranked work flexibility as a top priority. One in three surveyed workers also said that work-life flexibility is the most important factor in choosing a job.
Companies who provide flexible work practices can remain competitive when hiring talent, especially when it comes to groups like millennials, digital nomads and single parents, all of whom value adjustable work schedules.
Flexible work arrangements can also help reduce attrition rates and keep employees satisfied with their working situation. For example, Cisco's voluntary attrition rate for remote workers is roughly one-third lower than that of in-office employees—they've estimated that the lower attrition results in $75 million in savings each year for HR functions like recruitment and training.
Flex work can reduce costs
Work flexibility can help the bottom line by reducing costs in work travel, energy consumption and office space. Companies with remote workers require less real estate for desks, and their employees avoid wasteful commutes. Furthermore, a Society for Human Resource Management survey discovered that 32% of organizations that offer flex work arrangements had reduced absenteeism rates. Businesses can also save money on recruitment and training if they achieve lower attrition rates through their flex work policies.
Considerations to keep in mind
Incorporating more flexibility into the workplace can have a serious positive impact on company performance, but it's not a silver bullet. Organizations will have to be careful with how they implement their flex work policies in order to reap the benefits. A few considerations include:
- Employee trust: managers will have to be able to trust their workers to be productive, with little room for micromanagement.
- Adaptive business operations: meetings, reporting structures and task assignments will have to be fine-tuned so that everyone can function in an environment where employees will frequently be out of office or working unique hours.
- Tech solutions: managers should use specific tools like teleconferencing software, time tracking programs and cloud-based platforms to create efficient workflows with their remote teams.
Flexible work arrangements are more than a trend—they offer many meaningful benefits. By adding more flexibility to their workplaces, facility managers can create a more resilient, productive and efficient office, as long as they establish clear and smart work policies.