5 Keys to a More Flexible Work Environment

ThinkstockPhotos-466003165Don’t think workplace flexibility is here to stay? Think again. According to a 2009 Forrester report, 43% of the U.S. workforce will be working from home by 2016. That’s 63 million people, compared to just 34 million in 2009.

This trend is driven by many factors, including the desire for professionals to have more flexibility and control over their daily lives. But, as one of the top recruiting firms in Phoenix, PrideStaff knows it’s not just workers who can benefit from added freedom.

In fact, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, you can increase revenue by giving your employees more flexibility at work. The article states that companies that officially allow employees to work remotely at least three times per month were more likely to report revenue growth of 10% or more within the last year, compared to firms without such policies.

So how can you add flexibility to your workplace? Here are some tips:

Tip #1: Define clear expectations.
When employees know what they’re supposed to be doing, then they require far less hand-holding and oversight. They’re empowered to act independently, solve problems and make decisions on their own. In addition, when employees have clear expectations and know what they’re supposed to be delivering, you can better monitor their effectiveness and measure their success.

Tip #2: Give employees flexibility with their schedules.
Thanks to technology, employees no longer have to work between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Some work best at the crack of dawn, while others are more productive at night. So, for instance, if an employee is meeting expectations and producing good results, let them work at night or on the weekends and leave at 4 pm during the week.

Tip #3: Create a plan for your flex strategy.
That said, before letting employees telecommute or devise their own schedules, create a flexible-work strategy. Identify the departments and employees who will be able to work remotely or have a flex schedule, how flexible it will be and who will have final approval of the arrangements. Also, determine how you’ll track productivity under the new strategy to ensure it’s effective.

Tip #4: Train virtual workers and managers.
Managing a flexible workforce isn’t the same as managing a traditional one. So part of your strategy should also include creating policies and training for those employees and managers who will work virtually. This should include tips and tricks for telecommuters, training and access to technology tools, and information on how to lead a virtual team. For instance, managers should be trained to more regularly check in with team members, ask questions, and be readily accessible by phone, email or IM.

Tip #5: Leverage technology.
Your flex plan will fail without a communication plan in place. So find ways for teams and individuals to continue communicating and collaborating when scattered across home and business offices and working different schedules. Determine which apps are best to use and employ online collaboration tools to ensure continuous communication.

The bottom line? A flexible work arrangement can benefit your company in many ways, including in cost savings, reduced turnover and increased employee satisfaction. But first you need to take the right approach.

Need help hiring a flexible workforce for your company? Call PrideStaff.
As one of the top recruiting firms in Phoenix, our specialists can give you access to the skilled and dependable people you need, where and when you need them. To learn more, contact us today.