Corporate Flexibility And Remote Work
The new word in the HR department is “remote work.”
As we transition toward a far more human-centered business model, so too must the traditional trappings of a corporate set-up be reevaluated and altered based on what works best to get the most out of the staff. Previous generations would have us think that the lack of a rigid schedule is counterproductive, yet research is coming through supporting the exact opposite. Before making such an enormous structural shift, however, be sure to take the time to build a flex work plan that benefits both the company and the employee.
The younger generations are begining to filter into the workforce, previous means and methods of office culture are slowly being weeded out!
Often seen as archaic, the strict nine to five, Monday through Friday routine of a typical forty hour a week job is understandably so. Before technology became prevalent, it made sense to require workers to be in the office, since this was the only place work could get done.
Nowadays, many employees are connected to their company through some form of enterprise network that can be accessed anywhere with wifi. A study by Barbara Eversole points out that “middle managers need to be incented and trained to accept a culture where they maintain accountability without power and control” as this generational shift begins to truly take hold.
Pessimists will no doubt immediately jump on the popular concept that a lack of structure means a lack of discipline and productivity. Aside from implying employees are no better than children that have to be forced to do homework, yet documented evidence is proving adults are actually much more responsible than the average eight-year-old 😉
Two times as many employees are likely to stay with the company longer as they feel “actively engaged” by their work. Virtual working saves an estimated $6,500 per person per week in operational costs. In addition, two times more employees are healthy, saving the company as yet untold amounts in healthcare costs every year. Even ignoring the clear benefits of the now, the future is showing its needs for flexibility with 1 in 2 employees expecting to provide elderly care within the next year alone. There is no need to lose a star employee simply because they need a non-conventional schedule that gives them the ability to meet the demands of their personal and professional life!
Hands down, remote work is clearly showing statistical evidence of its positive effect on business, but this is only when it is implemented correctly. It can seem like a completely unstructured mess, but the fact is, there are steps that have to be taken to protect both the company and its workforce. To implement it correctly, the management must first support the idea, and to do this, a flexibility plan must be incorporated into the business model. This means gathering data and extrapolating on how it will benefit all aspects of the business, both short-term and long-term.
Once it has the green light to proceed, develop a plan that covers all positions including full-time, part-time and any other that gives flexibility to everyone – but does not detract from their duties and responsibilities. One of the best ways to do this is hold informal discussions with employees. Many have great, creative ideas on how to go about designing this new business model!
Finally, communication is key. Outline every single guideline and answer any and all questions. Know how to track metrics so that when upper level meetings are held, you can share the progress being made. Also, spread around success stories. This will bolster both upper management and employee confidence in such a new and relatively foreign HR model.
Each generation brings its own changes to the table and remote work is simply the next evolution of HR. By taking into account the needs in the personal lives of the employees, the company is investing in its assets while not spending any money to do so. In fact, current research shows such a change actually saves money and increases the overall retention rate. By implementing a well thought out plan that is fully supported and understood by upper management, HR is responsibly enacting a positive, progressive change in the work-life balance.
The five-day, forty-hour work week is a design grounded in an idea by Henry Ford instituted in 1926. This eighty-eight-year-old labor policy is well past its prime and can no longer adhere to modern day culture!
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