Between remote working and employees’ increasing desire for flexibility, businesses have come to a turning point in workforce management. 

Allow me to share the importance of being flexible with workplace flexibility and the steps that can be taken to ensure employee wellbeing and productivity during times of stress.

In the last year, COVID-19 has remoulded our lives significantly. There’s been a rise in the number of businesses who have turned homes into offices and Zoom into daily conference rooms. Those who have had a taste of working from home are keen to maintain this flexibility.

Yet what COVID-19 attests is not only businesses’ short-term responsiveness in the narrow context of an obligatory lockdown nationwide. Research shows that some employees are keen to continue working from home, with one in three (37 per cent) willing to give up a small portion of their pay to do so. In the post-COVID era, such a mentality will intensify and manifest in the pursuit of other flexible work arrangements, such as flexible pay, job-sharing, purchased leave and more.

The current spotlight is on businesses’ willingness and ability to build a workforce culture that is flexible and sustainable. Now that the door has been opened to greater flexibility, employers should be leveraging all practices possible with the goal of providing long-term, sustainable flexibility to all employees.

Being Flexible with Flexibility

Businesses hoping to offer flexibility should ask themselves, what do my people want and how can I best address those expectations? Employees’ mental health, financial situation and work-life balance are the key things employers should be looking at when developing flexible arrangements, so that they can best address those work and lifestyle needs. 

A hybrid approach to staying connected

Businesses also need to think about how to maintain barrier-free communication to keep employees engaged and business activity running. As distance-shrinking technology accelerates, physical proximity holds its unique value in gluing the workforce together via spontaneity and surprises. Remote working and digital communication should be a complementary element deployed to support the growth of an existing workplace culture.

Working from home is great, but there’s more to that


When considering all the variables behind flexible working, such as working hours, workforce proximity, employee preference and the nature of their job, it becomes clear that a one-for-all solution no longer works. Given the unknown variables that surround the COVID-19 crisis, employers hoping to build a flexible workplace need to be ready for a series of conversations with their employees. Amid heightened expectations and shifting workplace legislation, those who are flexible with flexibility will eventually be rewarded with high employee engagement, work productivity and great business reputation.

 Michelle    9 April 2021