4 strategies to create a culture of flexibility in the workforce
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The rise of teleworking during the global pandemic has proven that working from home is a viable workplace model with few downsides. Yet businesses continue to encourage or even require their employees to return to the office – often to their own detriment. Eg, by PwC Pulse Survey: Reserved to be confident found that 64% of executives agree that their companies need as many people back to work as possible.
As remote work continues to be on top of employees’ wish lists, it’s clear that many business leaders need to do a better job of embracing a remote work culture. Flexible within their organization to retain and attract employees.
Employees continue to demand flexibility in the workplace
Follow us Global Labor force surveyToday’s workers crave (and need) diversity in the way they work. Nearly two-thirds said they prefer a combination of face-to-face and remote work. This flexibility lies at the core of job satisfaction. Only 45% of direct employees say they are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 50% mixture employees and 63% of employees work completely remotely.
Staying connected and cultured is important, but a lack of flexibility runs the risk of fueling resentment. While 26% of people in the PwC survey prefer to work remotely full-time, only 18% said their employer is likely to adopt that model. Only 11% of employees prefer to work in person full-time, but 18% say their employer is likely to require them to come to the office daily.
Workforce agility is critical to competing in a highly flexible and competitive marketplace. Therefore, organizations need to both meet employee expectations and put their employees in a position to perform at a high level. Otherwise, they may face high, low turnover productivity and lose business flexibility.
A workplace strategy that benefits the organization and its employees
It’s clear that most employers have yet to perfect a new way of working in the post-pandemic world, one that benefits both the employee and the company. However, leading organizations are adopting a culture of flexibility in the workplace by implementing policies and tools that meet the needs of their employees where they work. Success in this new hybrid requires employees to engage and give them a sense of personalization and ownership in the way they work.
Here are four strategies for business leaders to enable a culture of workforce agility that benefits the organization and its employees.
1. Offers personalized flexibility
Workplace flexibility is not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. People have different needs, work styles, and preferences for how they work, and personalization puts everyone in the best position to succeed. Empowering workers to do things in the way that works best for them provides accountability and motivation.
Some people may have to work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to care for children or other personal responsibilities. Others may feel that they will perform better in a four-day workweek. Some may choose to forgo some paychecks for extra vacation or personal days. Flexibility allows people to work the way they want and when they want in the most optimal way.
At the same time, don’t forget the power of face-to-face coaching and networking. Some people simply don’t know what they are missing. Making that happen for them by regularly bringing teams together and using connectivity as a direct motivator can help clarify value.
2. Set the rules first
Regardless of people’s individual needs and preferences, business managers and leaders must determine whether it is in the best interest of the organization to allow people to personalize the way they work. or not. This requires open communication channels between managers, employees and HR as well as formal plans for in-person, remote and future work.
People need to know what job expectations are regardless of how they choose to work, and managers need to know where the boundaries lie. Clear rules of engagement need to be set, formalized, and communicated to stakeholders, along with clear accountability.
3. Empower different working styles with advanced tools for collaboration and connection
An agile workforce is only as effective as its toolkit. Wherever they work, employees need to be equipped with tools that allow them to effectively connect to company resources and collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners.
We need to go beyond video conferencing to give people interactive tools like whiteboards, real-time voting, and the ability to split into groups. Remote workers need the same connectivity as the office, so they can work the way they expect without latency or bandwidth issues. And those who work in the office should not be ignored either. A complete rethink of office layouts and shared spaces can entice people to come to the office more and be more productive.
4. Encourage career growth and advancement
Every employee should feel challenged in their role and want to grow their career with the company. Upskilling and advancement opportunities are great ways to retain and engage employees. Investing in people through learning and development programs enhanced with recognition, badges, and incentives creates the kind of work environment that people can be excited about.
High achievers crave opportunities that challenge and excite them. It’s just a matter of giving them a chance to excel and show what they can do.
Put everyone in a superior position
Hybrid working models are not going away. Retaining and attracting productive workers requires flexibility in the way they work and empathy from business leaders about the “new normal” for employees. Business leaders have the opportunity to promote and encourage workforce flexibility — working with employees to give them the opportunities, processes, and tools they need to do their jobs well. themselves and bring benefits to both sides.
Joe Atkinson is product and technology manager at PwC US
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