Workplace and Employee Flexibility

Once the entire country eliminates stay-at-home orders, businesses will be looking to bring people back to the office, as they seek to get back to business as usual. However, the pandemic accelerated one of the key issues the centennials and even millennials have been pushing for, and that is to focus on employee’s life, beyond the office. This holistic view had been discussed prior to the pandemic, but the requirement to stay at home while working has changed the way we view work life balance.

One of the best realizations coming out of the mandatory work at home orders, was the realization that productivity and engagement went up for the majority of employees. Thus, there are some lessons learned that we can apply to the post pandemic workforce. A recent article from Gallup touches on three areas where executives can support the growing need for a holistic view of employee life.

The recommendations are not a one size fits all. The plan that is right for your organization will require open conversations with HR and department heads. Per the article, “Flexibility will look different in each workplace because culture is as unique to an organization as DNA is to a person. It’s up to leaders to identify and brand the pattern of flexibility that works for their employees and their business needs.”

Work Schedule Flexibility

Even before the pandemic, and especially now, workers are looking at their wellbeing. Even as you bring people back to the office, and some jobs will require this more than others, being flexible about specific needs should become a priority.  For example, working parents who may have to deal with different school schedules. Providing flex hours and partial days in the office with work at home options shows your listening to the needs of employees and will build on the productivity and engagement gains we are already seeing.

Work Location Flexibility

An April Gallup article mentions that 60% of those working at home during the pandemic would like to continue working remotely as much as they can. According to the article, “Team managers can ask their teams how they can partner together for this effort to be successful. For some teams, this may mean different shifts of people need to be in the office at different times, or they trade off week-by-week, individual-by-individual. For other teams, this may mean they primarily follow a work-from-home setup — but with a regular in-person connect each week. And for other teams still, working from home may not be possible. The point is to consider what is possible as you also strive to ensure the best employee experience for your teams.”

And if the role doesn’t require the person to be in the office, it opens up the candidate pool to find the best qualified person regardless of location. For example, you may be located in New York City, but the best candidate for your senior programmer opening is in Wyoming. With a flexible approach to location, hiring this person shouldn’t present any problems related to geography.

Work Attire Flexibility

Work attire has been relaxing over the past twenty years. Fewer industries require men to wear suits. While sweatpants may have been the uniform of Covid 19, that is not going to cut it in the office. However, if you have a formal or more traditional dress policy, now is the time to consider what changes you can make to improve the impact on employees. If you have clients in your office, a more formal approach is understandable. But if there are only certain days that clients are in the office, perhaps the other days the policy can be relaxed. People tend to perform well when they are comfortable, and giving them the option to dress up or down shows you care about their preferences.

Gallup shared just a few ideas on how you can improve the work lives and well-being of employees. If you are interested in how you can evolve your culture to adapt to the post pandemic work life, send us a note, and one of our executive recruiters will respond accordingly.