The Business Case for Workplace Flexibility
If youíve been intrigued by the idea of workplace flexibility (e.g., flexible schedules, working form different locations, flexible work days, results-only work environments), but arenít sure itíd truly benefit your business, think again! Here are six benefits of workplace flexibility that will help you make the business case.
1. Flexibility helps attract talent.
A flexible work environment is highly attractive to dual-career couples that need a job which allows them to juggle the demands of work and their life. Flexibility also attracts Generation Y. If fact, a recent Oxbridge study revealed that work-life balance is the primary factor new graduates are looking for in a job (salary came in 8th on the list). Having a workplace flexibility plan in place, will help you stand out among your competition and enable you to attract top talent.
2. Flexibility raises morale and job satisfaction.†
When employees have more flexibility to meet all the demands of work and life, they are more satisfied with their job and have higher morale. This is good news because there are clear links between job satisfaction and turnover. The more satisfied the employee, the less likely they are to leave. Additionally, employee satisfaction is linked with customer retention and satisfaction. When your employees are satisfied they will treat your customers better. Itís a win-win for everyone.†
3. Flexibility improves productivity.†
This benefit works with the previous. When employees are more satisfied with their job, they are more engaged and more productive. Companies that offer flexibility also experience fewer unscheduled absences. When employees have the ability to work from home, they can contribute even when their child is sick, they have to care for an elderly parent, or they arenít feeling well enough to make the commute into the office. Finally, flexibility improves productivity because workers experience fewer interruptions, and thus can often get more work done, when they are working outside the office.†
4. Flexibility reduces stress and burnout.†
When employees are stressed and burned out they have less commitment to their job and the organization and are more likely to have plans to leave the company. One survey found that half of the workers surveyed said job stress and burnout reduced their productivity. Employees that are stressed and burned out also are sick more often. When you offer your workers flexibility in how, when, and where they are working, they begin to get more sleep, spend more time exercising, and are better able to relax and unwind. When employees reduce their stress, they gain energy, eliminate burnout, and are more productive at work.†
5. Flexibility helps cut costs.
Flexibility initiatives can help cut a variety of costs as well, saving your organization money. First, flexible work can help reduce real estate and overhead costs (e.g., you donít need as big an office if the majority of your employees are working from home). Flexibility can also help reduce health care costs because your workforce will be healthier (see points 3 and 4). You will also save money by increasing your ability to retain employees. Finally, workplace flexibility initiatives allow you to attract highly talented workers to your business by offering the benefit of flexibility rather than offering higher salaries.
6. Flexibility aids retention.†
Losing an employee is costly; turnover statistics estimate the cost of replacing an employee to be 100-200% of their annual salary. Studies have shown that flexibility actually decreases voluntary turnover. In a survey of 614 companies, flexibility was ranked by half of the companies as their most effective retention tool, better than above-market salaries, stock options, or training.
These are just six of the many benefits of workplace flexibility. Which of these will help you make the business case for adding more flexibility to your organization? Choose one or two of these points and begin a conversation about how increasing the flexibility in how, when, and where you work could help solve some of the challenges you and your company have been facing.†
©Copyright 2009 Ashley Acker
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Acker, Ph.D., WorkStyle Design Expert and Coach, works with small business owners and their teams to redesign work so everyone wins. Learn how to boost your teamís productivity, develop a competitive advantage in your business, and enjoy unlimited freedom and flexibility with our FREE report,†5 Steps for Radically Transforming Your Small Business.