To create a successful, flexible work culture you must trust your employees and give them the freedom and flexibility that they’ve had for the last 18 months during the pandemic to make decisions about when, where, and how they do their work.
A ‘once in a century’ opportunity faces business leaders and executives as we rethink how and where we should work. The end goal for nearly all businesses is to maximize efficiency, turnover profit, and create a positive culture.
Success means creating a culture where flexible work arrangements offer increased productivity, better collaboration, and more engaged employees.
Back in the 18th century, people used to have 10- to 16-hour workdays. The reasoning behind this was that factories should run 24/7. However, it eventually became clear that such long days were unsustainable. An eight-hour workday became a standard after Ford Motor Company cut daily hours and increased wages. The results were great, and productivity quickly increased.
Globally, businesses are pivoting into a new work structure. Here are 7 processes to consider to create a successful, flexible work culture:
- Provide resources for remote workers to set up a moveable ‘home office’ through a home-office fund. Shopify announced in March 2020 that it would give its newly remote employees $1,000 to set up their new home office.
- Have a performance-driven culture. Manage outcomes and results, not inputs and processes. Flexible employees must know the level of performance expected and what metrics will be used to measure their work.
- Put a focus on collaboration. Collaboration comes through communication, and there’s no excuse for miscommunication, especially with all the available online resources. Slack, Whatsapp and numerous instant messenger programs are just some examples of software tools that promote consistent and solid communication among flexible employees. Additionally, a regularly scheduled ‘check-in’ via weekly or monthly group video meetings can aid managers and leaders in monitoring remote workers.
- Provide the necessary training. Every time you introduce a new concept in the workplace, be sure that your remote employees also receive the necessary training. Fortunately, modern technologies make training easier than ever.
- Create a culture of accountability and personal responsibility. Knowing they will be held accountable for the results of their work will motivate employees to apply themselves fully to their tasks, regardless of where their workstations are located.
- Hire motivated workers. Before you can create a successful flexible work culture, you must have the right fit for the position. Employees who will thrive are self-starters and innovators.
- Set work boundaries. Flexible work arrangements can create workaholics; employees may feel like they are always on the clock. Limit meetings and have sign-off systems in place.
The issue of poor productivity in flexible working situations does not stem from the office’s location, but rather poor planning and lack of ongoing management systems.
Successful, flexible work cultures are easy to achieve when the company’s and employers’ benefits are mutually understood.