How Flexible can Your Workplace be in the Future?
With the influx of millennial employees into corporations around the world growing, the demands for more flexible work arrangements are escalating.
Up until now, companies have looked at flexible schedules, working from home situations, and working in non-business hours as a favor to workers.
In the future, however, trend-watchers say the pendulum will swing back to the point where the corporation deliberately seeks the employee who will accommodate off-site work and unusual hours.
The movement became rooted in corporations throughout the world in the last five years as millennial workers demanded a work/life integration. This differed from the Generation Xers who wanted work/life balance. The next generation doesn’t draw a firm line between the work they do and the life they live; they blend it all into one package of awake hours and how they spend their hours.
That means they consider it normal to work for five hours, and then take three off to go watch their child perform in a music recital, and then return to work to complete their shift. Or they are often happy to forgo the culture of a traditional workplace in favor of a home office, Skype meetings, and a chance to be there when their children get home from school.
The changes in technology fueled the trend for more flexibility in the workplace, as did a growing dependence on contract workers.
But are all the benefits on the side of the workers? A look at a number of studies into more flexibility in the workplace indicates that they are not. Corporations who favor this trend will find themselves benefiting enormously in the long run.
According to the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, employees who can integrate their work and the rest of their life seamlessly, as through a home office, are far less stressed than those who work the defined, traditional 9 to 5 shift. They also experience better physical and mental health.
People who work in more flexible workplaces also show less conflict and negative spillover between their family and their work, concluded the National Study of the Changing Workforce.
One of the most significant studies was completed by the Families and Work Institute’s National Study of the Changing Workforce. It showed that workers with more access to flexibility had fewer mental health problems, even when pay and education levels were considered.
How can you accommodate this trend in the future?
Start by looking over your corporate culture with an eye to understanding what needs to change to make such new flexible working arrangements really work. How could they benefit your company? How much of an investment is currently ear-marked to payment of workers out on stress leave or to low retention rates?
Do you have technology that would be compatible with a series of off-site workers? Can you get it and how can you adapt it to your organization?
It’s okay to start your flexibility planning in stages and ironing out the kinks in the system as you go. Try small groups of offsite workers within larger groups of in-house workers and experiment with the successes and failures. That way, when the trend hits your full force, you will be ready for it.
For more information on flexible work arrangements, contact SkyPrep today!
SkyPrep Inc. provides integrated corporate e-learning solutions to help top companies facilitate online training and knowledge sharing in their organizations.
550 Queen Street East, Suite 335