We’ve talked a lot about how technology is changing the way we work — changing the way people work is part of what motivates us at TrackVia. But technology is also making it possible for people to change when and where they work. Flex work has dramatically increased in popularity over the past decade, as more and more businesses are giving their employees the option to increase their flexibility while maintaining productivity.
For many companies, being tethered to your desk Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 is a thing of the past. Working together with employees to help them improve their work/life balance has been shown to lead to more satisfied, and ultimately more productive, employees. It’s also helping companies of all sizes to stay competitive when looking to find and hire top talent.
And despite common misconceptions that it’s mainly moms looking to strike this work/life balance, it was reported recently that dads are getting in on the action too, with nearly three-quarters of men now saying that they’re working on flexible schedules.
But along with all of the benefits, there are drawbacks as well, and there are a lot of businesses out there still weighing the benefits against the risks. So how can you determine if flex work is right for your business? We’re breaking down some of the benefits and drawbacks to help you make that call.
Pros and cons of flex work
As mentioned, one of the biggest benefits to a flex work policy is the ability to stay competitive and attract top talent. Whether it’s a parent looking to gain flexibility in their schedule, a professional who’s more creative outside of a cubicle, or someone located in another city or state, a willingness to be flexible will help your business attract prospective employees.
Keeping those employees is another benefit that businesses should consider. Finding, training, and replacing employees are all incredibly costly for businesses, and businesses of all sizes are looking to avoid employee turnover. That’s why many are turning to flex work policies to help combat this. Research has shown that employees with flex work schedules are much more satisfied (and satisfied employees are more productive and efficient), are more likely to stay at their jobs, and it was even reported that almost half of employees would rather be given a flex work option than a pay raise.
But let’s talk drawbacks. There are several factors that are giving many companies pause when considering flex work. Security is one of the top concerns. As people move away from working at the office, they increase their usage of mobile devices, laptops and tablets, which can mean a security and management headache for IT. Before implementing a flex work policy, work with IT to determine what security risks it will present, develop a plan for combating them, and make sure that employees are informed on what devices they can use securely for work.
For many companies, flex work also presents logistical concerns. Organizing meetings and group events is much more challenging when employees are in different locations at different times. Luckily, technology continues to provide more and more tools for working remotely. Collaboration tools and video and conference call services are making flex work more and more seamless.
Lastly, many companies still simply worry that employees will take advantage of the flexibility, and that performance and productivity will suffer as a result. While research has shown that this isn’t the case, companies with this concern should talk with their employees and level set about expectations. Being clear on goals, setting expectations, and making sure employees know how their performance is being measured will ensure that employees know what’s expected. In most cases, employee performance and satisfaction have gone up, and employee attrition has gone down.
Has your company adopted a flex work policy? What benefits and drawbacks did you encounter? Comment below or tweet us at @trackvia and let us know.