As someone who earns a living meeting with individuals to discuss what is important to them in their next job opportunity, the term “flexibility” undoubtedly comes up often. So many of us today are juggling so many things and wearing so many hats, that the ability to move seamlessly between our work and personal lives has never been more important.
While there are some companies that might resist flexible options for their teams—most specifically, when it comes to giving them the ability to work from home, or remotely—research shows that a work-from-home arrangement between an employer and their team tends to lead to a happier and more productive workforce.
So, if work-life flexibility has proven to be effective in the workplace, why aren’t more companies implementing such perks?
What it comes down to is the balance between offering a flexible environment WITHOUT losing productivity. That is both is paramount and challenging.
Recently, our organization implemented a flexible work arrangement, and I can personally attest to its benefits. So much so, that I felt impelled to write on the very topic to all of you.
Further, I came across a recent article on Entrepreneur.com by Bob Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners, that discusses the topic in detail. Glazer recommends four guidelines to ensure a balance is met between work and home without losing accountability.
I’ve outlined these tips for you below.
1. Reinforce corporate culture from the start
Per Glazer, a strong corporate culture is one where all employees are moving in the same direction despite the absence of rigid structure. This begins with bringing the right individuals into the organization. If a manager is wondering what a staff member is doing on the day she/he is working from home, that manager has most likely hired the wrong individual.
To build a culture of balance, Glazer recommends thoroughly defining missions and values and then consistently communicating, recognizing and following through on them.
2. Ask for feedback
How can a leadership team be convinced its cultural initiatives are working if they never elicit feedback from their team members? You might think your initiatives are working, but without seeing how the rest of the team feels about it, you will never really know.
As a CEO and business leader, Glazer sends weekly surveys to gauge team members’ feedback on their work lives. His goal? Eliminate surprises and ambiguity.
3. Set clear guidelines and processes
Policies and procedures assist a leadership team ensure that all staff members are afforded the same benefits and are held to the same standards. This will avoid chaos and foster productivity. Again, the goal is to eliminate ambiguity and ensure that no individual is being favored over others.
4. Leverage technology
One of the most significant challenges for a remote workforce is communication—as we can no longer “walk down the hall” to talk to a peer, staff member or leader. For those team members who work remotely 100 percent of the time, Glazer recommends a weekly video call to keep everyone apprised of the most pressing business matters.
Furthermore, he encourages more frequent video discussions among peer-to-peer to ensure relationships between colleagues stay strong.
Overall, Glazer is a huge proponent of a flexible work environment and recommends we don’t believe the detractors. I couldn’t agree more. When done right, flexible work arrangements greatly benefit both the organization and the team.
What are your thoughts on a flexible work environment? Let me know in the comments below.