Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back regularly for a new ReWork cartoon.
Even before the pandemic upended employees’ daily routines, workers craved flexibility. A 2018 survey found that almost a third of workers valued it more than extra vacation time or higher job titles. And beyond helping companies attract and retain employees, flexible workplace policies make companies more agile and save them money.
Nontraditional work setups due to the pandemic have shown that people need flexibility more than ever—and more than just the ability to work from home. Take a closer look at what flexibility really means when crafting work from home policies for your company.
Flexibility in the Workplace Means Different Things to Different People
Not everyone is looking for the same thing when it comes to having a flexible work arrangement. Some people may want to work from a geographical location not tied to a physical office, while others might work most efficiently outside of the typical 9-to-5, or even with their hours distributed across more or fewer days per week. Others might actually prefer having a dedicated office space outside their home to visit, even if it’s not five days per week.
The need for flexibility can come from many different places. For some, it’s about remaining productive or meshing with their best workstyles—perhaps working better at certain hours of the day or in specific environments. Others might need flexibility—whether of location, hours or accomodation—in order to care for dependents or manage a disability.
Establish Clear Boundaries Around Flexible Work
Having flexible work policies doesn’t—and shouldn’t—mean that you expect your employees to be available around the clock (or while, say, on a hike!). When considering flexible work schedules for your employees, emphasize and establish boundaries to avoid employee burnout and help them maintain a work-life balance. Encourage employees to set away messages, pause chat or email notifications or block time on their calendars when they are not available. After all, trust is key to a strong manager-employee relationship: Focus on measuring the results of your employees’ work rather than micromanaging their daily behaviors.
Finding the Best Work from Home Policy For Your Team
Crafting work from home policies will not necessarily be one-size-fits-all—you’ll likely have to make some exceptions. Know what factors are likely to impact your employees’ ability to complete work and where logistical challenges might pop up—such as managing time zones with colleagues or clients, or completing collaborative work.
Ultimately, flexibility is still one of the most important factors people consider when deciding whether to accept or remain at jobs. As you develop policies moving forward, understand what flexibility really means for your company.