I’ve worked in some pretty strict offices in my time. The kind of places where you get the evil-eye if you arrive at 8:05, rather than 8:00. And leaving early for an appointment receives passive-aggressive comments.
In some ways, I can understand it. Places like this have been operating on a strict schedule of 8:00-5:00 for decades. It’s the only way they can comprehend work gets done.
But, in other ways, I think it’s totally ridiculous.
The modern workplace is changing rapidly. And as the world of business marches onward, it marches toward a greater level of flexibility and employee autonomy.
And if you’re not marching with it, you’re going to get left behind.
51% of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time. [Source]
6 reasons why flexible work practices reduce employee turnover
1. Reduces employee stress
Everyone has a life outside of work, and a unique set of responsibilities and commitments. Being able to work odd hours so you can pick up your kids, or take that mid-morning yoga class, will ease stress considerably.
Too much stress → high cortisol levels → decreased immunity, attention, and memory → a distracted, sickly, and unhappy workforce.
2. Demonstrates that you care
By offering a flexible work schedule, you’re acknowledging that your employees have a life outside of work. It signals that you don’t see them as faceless employees, but as whole people who contribute to your business.
3. Saves time and money
The pain of commuting during rush hour is well-known. Travelling outside these hours saves time, money, and stress. Even better if you don’t have to commute at all and can work from home if you wish!
4. Offers higher levels of autonomy
Giving people a chance to handle their own schedule gives them the chance to take ownership over their time. This freedom to choose is both liberating and empowering.
“One study in Taiwan surveyed 1,380 staff members from 230 community health centers. The more autonomy employees had at work, the more satisfied they were with their jobs and the less likely they were to transfer or leave their positions.” [Source]
5. Respects individual ways of working
Not all spaces are conducive to every type of work. Personally, I find it hard to write articles at a desk, especially a stand-up desk. My most productive writing space is the sofa—which can appear lazy to the untrained eye. Giving people the option to work from home, a cafe, or elsewhere, gives them the chance to maximize their productivity, their way.
6. It’s becoming more commonplace
In Gallup’s 2017 study, employees were asked to indicate how important certain attributes are when considering whether to take a job with a different organization.
What may come as a surprise is that “greater work-life balance and better personal well-being” ranked just second on the list. It’s prioritized over greater job stability and a significant pay rise.
More and more people are seeking out opportunities that give them greater work-life balance. They’re looking for the companies that offer flexible work arrangements. If your company isn’t doing this, they’ll skip over you and find one that is.