What is flexibility in the context of work?
This is probably not the first time you've heard about the growing need for flexibility in the office. But sometimes it's hard to understand what people mean when they talk about it.
One well-known career expert defined workplace flexibility as a strategy to respond to changing circumstances and expectations that both employers and employees can adopt.
From an employer's perspective, workplace flexibility can mean giving employees the autonomy and freedom they need to get the job done without imposing a rigid set of rules for the sake of compliance. This autonomy can relate to many different aspects of employees' lives – for example, allowing employees to own their projects.
1. Try to understand your team
Understanding your team is important. If you are looking to figure out how to be more adaptable and flexible at work, you also need to go beyond understanding roles and understand what your team members want as individuals.
Consider asking your employees what they hope to gain from flexibility in the workplace:
Do they want to be able to work remotely? A shorter work week? Unlimited working hours?
And finally, while it may be tempting to send out a company-wide memo and call it a day, an announcement alone may not be enough to create a truly flexible workplace culture – along with the happy employees it promises.
It's important that employees feel empowered to actually use the benefits of a flexible workplace policy.
These are important things to know before figuring out how you can use flexibility to really boost happiness in the office.
2. Encourage breaks
Breaks aren't often discussed in the same breath as flexible workplace policies. But perhaps they should be, because periodic short breaks can foster a culture of adaptability and flexibility in the workplace.
One idea for encouraging breaks is to have a break room, for example. If you cannot provide full flexibility, you can extend the standard lunch break so that team members can run errands or take care of personal needs in the middle of the day. This is a good compromise for workplaces where full flexibility is not possible.
Regardless of the degree of flexibility, it is important to encourage and support employees to put their work aside, even for a short five-minute break.
Breaks can boost productivity. They also give employees the opportunity to rest, recharge and socialize with colleagues.
3. Limit your meetings
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to making the workplace more flexible is that it might lead to shorter working hours. But this is not always the case.
One way to increase flexibility and ensure you have enough time for focused work is to reduce the number of mandatory meetings.
Installing Yaware.TimeTracker is the best way to monitor time spent on meetings and more.
However, regardless of the method, reducing the number of scheduled meetings can give employees the opportunity to use time as they see fit.
To decide which meetings should stay and which should be canceled, an implicit checklist that asks difficult questions can help. For example, is a given meeting urgent, and does everyone invited really need to attend?