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Finding flexibility

PHOTO: KOLUMN Magazine

In a world where the war for talent is strife the decision to join an organization is no longer influenced solely by financial remuneration, but culture is a major factor for candidates. A large driver of this organizational culture is flexibility.

Flexibility is fast becoming a trend as employees seek a more healthy work life balance. Technology is allowing for employees to work from anywhere in the world. With tools like google meet, zoom, skype and e-mail, we can interact and collaborate. Sage People conducted a global study of over 3500 employees and more than 80 per cent of persons polled placed importance on flexible work hours and remote working capability. Furthermore in a recent study 54 per cent of people would be willing to leave their current employer for an organization that has greater flexibility. So it is companies that are willing to offer this new way of work who will not only attract, but also retain top talent globally.

Although a non-traditional concept, flexibility in working hours has certain advantages that nine-to-five working hours cannot offer. Flexibility in working hours allows for cross-functional interactions across different time-zones. It also allows for increase in creativity and productivity. As work life fluidity increases people can engage when they are focused, inspired and not on demand.

Studies have shown that the majority of employees who work 40-hour work week, feel that they are productive for 3,75 out of their five-day working week. By entrusting and empowering your employees, you can garner more productivity and increase their loyalty to your firm.

A good example of increased loyalty and productivity is billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, where employees do not have set leave days and actually decide for themselves when to take leave. This pioneering Human Resources practice was made famous by Netflix who reported an increase in morale, creativity and productivity.

According to a study conducted by FlexJobs, 3.9 million employees in the United States of America work from home half of their work week. That’s 2.9 per cent of the entire American workforce having flexible jobs. This trend has spread into Europe. I recall being on assignment in Dusseldorf, Germany where we allocated days into the office.

This made it possible for maximum productivity at a fraction of the cost to be achieved, as not all of the staff needed to be housed on the premises simultaneously. It made it possible to have colleagues live in the Netherlands and work in Germany, this is indeed a reflection of the world, not of tomorrow, but also of today.

To secure talent, promote productivity amongst employees, reduce costs and move your organisation to the future, finding flexibility in the workplace is going to be critical. An organizational culture shift towards flexibility must occur for companies to stay relevant in the face of a changing world.

In this article:
Richard BransonVirgin Group
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