The fear of missing out, FOMO. Today’s society, especially those from younger generations don’t want to miss a night out, a party, a concert, an experience. As more millennials enter the workforce, this fear will only grow.
It is estimated that by 2025 millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. Millennials have grown up with instant everything. The ubiquity and mobility of technology have led to a certain expectation of flexibility.
Still, millennials are not the only generation that desires flexibility. Older generations have kids, grandkids, appointments, and other obligations that require their time and attention.
Even though their priorities may differ, every generation wants to be present for the experiences that are important to them. Most employees want the power to choose when and/or where they work (at least some of the time).
Flexible work options are something upper management and employees can agree are good for business. They are a win-win for both parties. Find out the benefits of flexible work arrangements here.
What options for flexible work are there?
There are three major flexible work arrangements: Flexible location, flexible schedule, and flexible time. Each of these presents unique benefits to your employees. Though, they all come with a particular set of challenges for your company.
1. Flexible location
A flexible location means giving your employees the ability to choose where they work. Flexible location gives employees the power to work from home, a coffee shop, a client’s office, or while on the road.
Flexible location allows you to recruit prospects who live far from your office and retain employees who have to move away from your office. Employees such as these, who are only able to commute a few times a week or month, benefit greatly from a flexible work location.
2. Flexible Schedule
A flexible schedule means giving your employees the ability to choose when they work. These options can include compressed workweeks, alternative schedules, and schedule shifts.
Compressed schedules give employees longer work days, but less total days during the week. A popular example includes four ten-hour work days. Alternative schedules such as 7 am to 3 pm give employees another tool to work around their lives.
Flexible schedules give employees the opportunity to avoid sacrificing certain aspects of their personal lives, in the name of the job. If you have to pick your kids up before or after school, are in a club, or have sports practice flexible schedules can help you work around these.
3. Flexible Hours
Flexible hours allow your employees the power to choose the number of hours they work during the week. This option lets employees who are unable to work the traditional 40-hour workweek the ability to continue to contribute to the organization.
Part-time, job sharing, and other alternatives such as working weekends or night shifts are included in flexible hour arrangements. This option lets your employees choose when they are going to work, which, in turn, allows them to work when they are most productive.
What are the benefits of flexible work options?
While the benefits of flexible work arrangements may be evident for employees, are there equal benefits for the employer? Yes. Flexible work arrangements can help an organization in a plethora of ways.
1. A Greener Business
The first benefit of flexible work arrangements is that it makes your business greener. By allowing some of your employees to work at home, or work fewer hours they spend less time commuting.
The less a person has to commute, the smaller their carbon footprint is. According to HealthLine, a 10 percent reduction in an individual’s work hours results in a 15 percent decrease in a person’s carbon footprint.
Additionally, as a company, you will need less space, which allows your organization to use a smaller building or office space. Smaller spaces mean using fewer resources and reducing your overall environmental impact.
Being a green company also lets your organization save money. Your business can reduce its real estate bill, and cut expenses on office supplies. Combined, these could save your company thousands of dollars every year.
Making your company greener also helps your business in the next benefit…
2. Improved Recruiting
Flexible work gives your business an edge up when recruiting the top talent. The first reason your recruiting will improve is through opening a bigger talent pool from which your company can draw.
Flexible work arrangements allow you to recruit individuals outside your local geographic location, who are unable to relocate at the time. This increased reach allows you to recruit top candidates across your state and even country.
Your recruiting pool will also expand due to those who would be unable to work a traditional 9-5 job. Stay-at-home parents, retirees, professionals with disabilities, and others with similar circumstances would suddenly be available to work.
Your recruiting would also improve because flexible work is not an option that many other companies fully support. Workplace flexibility distinguishes your business from your competition.
A survey through WorldatWork found that 80 percent of companies offer flexible work options, yet only 44 percent of these publicize them.
This statistic means less than half (!!) of companies with flexible work options publicize that these choices. In total roughly, only 35 percent of companies both have and promote their flexible work options.
As previously stated, flexible work arrangements also make you a more environmentally conscious company. An eco-friendly work environment is another tool your business can endorse, while on the recruiting trail.
If your firm has flexible work arrangements, supports and publicizes them, you will have an edge on your competition.
3. Better Retention
On the opposite end of the spectrum, flexible work can also help to grow your company’s retention rates. When given more flexibility your employees will respond with increased loyalty to the business.
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 89 percent of HR professionals reported an increase in employee retention by implementing flexible work arrangements.
Similarly, a survey from FlexJobs discovered that 82 percent of professionals said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. And 39 percent of professionals turned down a promotion, have refused a job, or quit a job because of a lack of flexible work.
Employees with flexible work options feel better about their job, and their employer. When faced with leaving the organization, your staff will have to consider whether another company will support flexible work, like yours does.
Better retention rates also help save your company money. The Center for American Progress established that the average cost of employee turnover was 21 percent of that worker’s annual salary.
Flexible work arrangements can improve the health of your staff. In the same study, FlexJobs found that that 87 percent of employees believe a flexible schedule would lower stress levels, and over 75 percent said it would make them healthier.
According to Forbes, a study conducted by Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom found that flexible workers used sick leave less often than those without flexible work options.
A workforce solution company Circadian found that unscheduled absenteeism costs around $3,600 per year for each hourly employee, and $2,650 every year for salaried employees.
When your employees can complete work from home, they don’t have to call in sick if they aren’t feeling up to the commute to work. It also prevents ill employees from coming to work and infecting the rest of your staff.
Flexible work options can save your company thousands of dollars on a reduction in unscheduled absenteeism.
Improving the overall health of your employees also helps your business save money on health insurance. The healthier your employees are, the less the spend on health care, the less your organization spends on health insurance coverage.
5. More Productive Workers
As most business and HR leaders will recognize, increased productivity is the Big Kahuna (the Holy Grail, the Crème de la Crème) for any organization. The more productive your employees are, the more profitable your company is.
Flexible work options increase employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn, drives employee productivity. In a survey by SHRM, 91 percent of HR professionals agreed that flexible work arrangements have a positive influence on employee engagement.
Likewise, CEB Views has reported that highly engaged workers expend nearly six times as much effort in their job as their non-engaged colleagues.
In a 2015 Collaborative Worker Survey, out of employees who worked remotely at least a few times per month, 77 percent reported greater productivity while working offsite.
Millennials and the generation after, are more connected than any generation that has come before. This connectivity has heightened the sense of disappointment they receive from missing out on an experience.
Now, every missed opportunity has to be relived online and through social media. FOMO has driven employees to crave an improved work-life balance. A solid work-life balance helps your company too.
According to Inc., the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80% of Fortune 500 companies, found that employees who believe they have a good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who do not.
Use flexible work arrangements to make sure your employees’ FOMO is no mo’.