A MUST read for the contemporary business.

How can we as business owners make sure we are attracting and retaining top talent by providing the right working environment for modern professionals? 

In the world today, people wear many hats and can benefit from all different types of working arrangements.  Childcare is a common reason to request flexibility but the employees of today are taking care of elderly parents, traveling, living life to the fullest and frankly sick of the rat race that commuting can be.  Globalworkplaceanalytics.com  states that 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).  With a statistic like that – how can we provide the flexibility to meet our employees’ needs?

  • Who – All employees and business owners can benefit from a flexible work environment. Employees call in sick less when they can telecommute which prevents the spread of germs and keeps continuity in work activities.  Employees are often more productive when they don’t have to spend time commuting – they now have two+ extra hours in their day!  Businesses can offer telecommuting as an attractive option when recruiting and often candidates would consider a flexible work arrangement over a higher salary.
  • What – Flexibility in the workplace comes in many forms. Telecommuting is an attractive option for many people – allowing for work in the comfort of their own home or favorite coffee shop.  Reduced hours or job sharing can also work depending on the person’s work responsibilities.  The important thing is to be flexible when considering what flexible work arrangements to put in place.  Remember the arrangement can always be temporary too – a trial period sometimes helps both parties determine if the arrangement will work for them and sometimes employees just need the flexibility on a temporary basis.
  • Where – Providing a brick and mortar option for employees allows for collaboration and the ability to have face to face meetings. Allowing them to utilize this space and work remotely is ideal for workplace productivity. As business owners we can save money by having a smaller office space and not housing our entire workforce every day and all the time.
  • When – Employees are often looking for flexibility when accepting a new position. Flexibility at a business is a big draw to top talent and we should take full advantage of this by discussing the topic throughout the recruiting process.  However, it is necessary to state the options in a clear concise manner so there are no misconceptions once we hire our star candidate.  Offering flexibility to existing employees also goes a long way to a positive employee experience and reducing turnover.
  • Why
    • Productivity
    • Cost reduction to business owner
    • Increased talent pool when recruiting
    • Positive employee experience
    • Employee retention
  • How – Clearly there are many benefits to offering a flexible work environment at your place of business. However, it may take some time to adjust to a new way if your business has been operating under a more traditional regime.  It is essential to have clear and concise communications around expectations.  Are you willing to let your employee work outside traditional business hours?  Is there a limit on telecommuting – 1 day a week?  Only the business owner can determine the optimal arrangement, but it is essential to share with employees our expectations and provide feedback when the arrangement is going well and when it is not.  Allowing employees to have a say in their arrangement goes a step further and helps them to feel empowered when making career decisions.

By aligning our work environment with the needs of new talent and current employees we, as business owners, can benefit greatly.  Workplace flexibility is essential and will become more prominent in the years to come so if we get comfortable now we can reap the benefits sooner.  We should consider it for our own work arrangements too – we might find we like it.