October 07, 2016
Employers are fighting harder, and offering more perks, to land the best employees. Do you give workers the flexibility they’re looking for?
You’ve probably read about the changes in business and virtual workplace. With many industries facing labor shortages, employers have gotten creative with perks and benefits. Ping pong tables, yoga classes, fancy snacks and smoothies in the breakroom – all of that is great, but what’s the one thing they care about most? Aside from traditional benefits, such as healthcare, they are looking for flexibility. They want to know they won’t always be tethered to a desk at an office, and that they can complete their work remotely, at least part of the time. Work/life balance has become more of a priority for the next generation of workers, and flexibility is essential to that balance.
Some employers bristle at the idea of giving their employees unfettered control of their own work schedules. What if things don’t get done? Will they be taking naps all day and ignoring their work? How will we communicate? Bosses worry that there will be a lack of accountability and a fragmented, scattered workforce instead of the cohesive team they have built at the office. The fact is that businesses all over the world are moving to a telecommuting model and have seen great success. Here are some of the myths that keep employers from embracing this flexibility:
Distractions and lack of productivity Let’s be honest, the office isn’t always a serene place with only the hum of productivity to be heard. Your office is filled with people, and people can be distracting. Ideally, you have a cohesive team with workers who get along well. While that’s great for engagement, it also means there will be social chatter, political discussions, and photos of someone’s puppy or new home. Even work-related collaboration can be disruptive for others trying to focus on their own projects. While it’s true that children or piles of laundry could be distractions at home, your employees will have to be disciplined in either setting.
Communication and project management The answer to a lot of these concerns is technology. Several platforms exist for project management, which allow users to assign tasks, track time spent, add notes and upload documents, and collaborate with each other throughout the entire process. With conference calling, video chat, and even texting, employees are reachable without being physically present.
Cost of home office setup Overhead from keeping an office space operating is usually greater than the one-time expense of investing in a desk, computer, phone, and other essentials. Compare this with the ongoing cost of rent or mortgage, utilities, janitorial fees, snacks or other things you provide at the office, and a host of other expenses. Your employees will save money on gas or other transportation costs, and their commute time will be eliminated.
Ultimately, you will have to weigh the costs and benefits of employee flexibility. Maybe you’ll decide to experiment with it part-time, or you’ll go full-time but continue to have in-person weekly meetings. Keep in mind that if you resist this trend, you may get passed over by the top talent in your industry.
To read more, see the article from Entrepreneur.com.