In many instances, it seems as if the workplace has become a lot more hostile amid office politics, disgruntled employees, dissatisfied clients, workplace bullying and even growing drug usage. The data indicates that this is leaving more than two million workers unhappy in their occupation, and thus hurting overall productivity.
What’s the solution? New research suggests businesses implementing flexibility options.
According to a study carried out by Regus, a service office specialist, companies that have installed flexibility work options – otherwise known as flexi-hours and flexi-location – are noticing improved productivity, enhanced employee morale and developed better work-life balances.
The study discovered that 81 percent of business respondents reported seeing flexible work as a way to boost overall productivity, up from 74 percent at the same time a year ago. In addition, more than two-thirds (67 percent) conceded that flexible working can save businesses money because it can actually cost less than conventional office working.
Of course, there is an added bonus that business owners see: a significant business advantage.
It should be noted, however, that perhaps in the future companies will have no other choice but to install flexible working options, considering that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of owners expect more prospective employees to demand flexi-hours and telecommuting options.
“The recent regulatory changes give all staff the legal right to request flexible working and the results of our latest research serve as a timely reminder of the wide-ranging benefits of this modern approach to work,” said John Spencer, UK CEO at Regus, in a statement. “Having a choice in where, when and how we work makes a huge difference to our overall happiness; it helps us cut down on the stress of a long commute, frees up time to cook and eat healthily, or simply helps us get home earlier.”
Spencer added that employers must consider not just incorporating flexible hours but also multiple locations to complete work. “And this doesn’t just mean offering home-working. Most people prefer a more professional, dynamic environment that is closer to home (but crucially not at home), such as a local business centre or a ‘third place’ work location.”
This isn’t the only study to determine the importance of flexible working. According to a Gallup survey published earlier this year, work-from-home employees are more engaged and productive, citing business continuity, improved employee morale and avoiding the gap in service.
Chris Duchesne, Vice President of Global Workplace Solutions for Care.com, told HR.BLR.com in February that there are steps a company can take to install a work-from-home policy, including outlining managers’ discretion, being clear in your communications and offering a contingency plan.
Global Workplace Analytics reports that telecommuting and remote work options grow each year by roughly four percent (as of Sept. 2013). These trends can be found in the private sector as well as in governments at all levels.
With tremendous advancement in technology and the ability to monitor an employee’s work, there is no reason more and more businesses can’t add flexible work alternatives for staff members, especially those who can prove they don’t need supervision and management.