As Millennials take up more and more of the job force, a flexible working environment is vital for modern employees. 91% of modern employees say a flexible working is important, and 92% say they want the option to work from home. But 66% say they would prefer to work more in the office than at home, and 0% say they would want to work exclusively from home.
As someone who has worked onsite in an office and offsite at home, I have had a decent amount of experience working from both. There is no perfect place to work, and both have negatives and positives.
The important thing to remember is that flexible working doesn’t only refer ti where you work, but also how and when you work. Flexible working means that you have the flexibility to work however and wherever you want to as long as you can get your task done on time. Doing this helps to make you more comfortable which allows you to be more productive. That ensures that you will get your work done and maintain a better work life balance.
For example, most creative people aren’t morning people and prefer to work later in the day. When I work onsite at creative studios, our days don’t start until 10am and usually end around 7pm. But even though the day starts later, it’s still telling someone that they have to be creative between those eight hours. In such a competitive marketplace where creative thoughts are the things that keep businesses afloat and up to date, it’s crucial to allow employees to work in a way that is best for them because it helps them do their best work.
This flexible approach to also helps businesses hold on to their best talent because they know they aren’t forced to spend 8 hours in an office on those days that they just aren’t feeling it.
Some may be worried about team meetings and being face to face at times, but this can easily be resolved by having a few fixed days when everyone has to be in the office. For example, I have a friend who has to be in the office every Monday and Wednesday until lunch time. This means all core meetings and department meetings could be held between these times. They have the option to stay after lunch, or they can leave and work wherever they desire. If working in the office is your thing, you can work onsite Tuesday, Thursday and Friday if you’d like. If there is a meeting that has to happen outside of those time periods, Skype is a perfect tool to use to easily get on a video call or share your screen from anywhere.
Trust is key when it comes to a flexible working environment. It’s a shame that many companies roll with the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ motto. If they can’t see you, they do not think you are working. This is a bad look for CEO’s and managers because it shows that you don’t believe in the staff you hired.
The distrust from CEO’s and managers puts pressure on some people that work from home, and they tend to go overboard with their communication and work longer hours to prove they are working. This is in response to the negative view many have that those working remotely are just having a day off. The feeling of guilt makes some want to work longer, meaning working the set hours in the office would have been the better option. The same can happen in reverse though. There are people who feel guilty leaving on time, especially if they are one of the first people to leave. So they will stick around for another hour or two because they don’t want to seem like they are slacking off.
Businesses need to ditch the old ways of working and adapt to the tech era. The days of going to an office to work from 9 and 5 every day is a thing of the past. They need to realize that the world has changed, service based jobs today are significantly different than the manufacturing jobs of the past. Technology has improved and become widely available and people work differently. Businesses should trust their employees to take responsibility of their own workload and time management to get things done on time. Whether it’s at 9am in the office or 9pm at home, getting the work done is all that matters. If businesses cannot trust their employees to work where or when they want to, then how can you trust them with confidential business information and financial details? And if businesses can’t trust their employees, what was the point in hiring them in the first place?