Flexible Work for All: Employee Benefits
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In recent years there has been a rise in demand for flexible work. Whether the definition of flexible fits around hours or location, there is no denying that there has been an overall increase in interest shown by both employees and employers. This week we will look at the benefits to employees.
On the employee side, there is a multitude of reasons why flexible work is a huge motivator to join and stay with a company.
Flexible work accounts for the fact that at the end of the day, employees are human beings with lives outside of the office. Life, being the dynamic fluid thing that it is, often does not hold joys and challenges to the confines of the hours outside of business operations. Things happen when they happen. Just because it is 9 am on a Tuesday doesn’t mean that your mom didn’t just wind up at the hospital and you need to rush to her side. At 4:30 pm on a Thursday your wife goes into labor and you better be there or you might soon be a single parent. I could go on and on with examples of how life doesn’t fit neatly into the ‘outside of work’ hours, but I think you get the idea. If you had a flexible schedule, it would be much easier to handle all of the incidences that life continues to throw at you.
Being human, as even the top executives of an organization are, means that sometimes you are just worn out.
There’s a reason that so many articles have been written about avoiding burnout. That reason is that sometimes you just need a break. You need to ‘stop and smell the flowers’ so to speak. You are not going to be highly productive for an employer if you collapse out of sheer exhaustion or have a nervous breakdown because you are consistently forced to neglect your personal life. Flexible scheduling allows for you to take on work as it comes in and be productive in taking care of yourself.
This type of scheduling lets you take time for things like:
- Preventative medical care – why do doctors only seem to operate during the hours that everyone else works?
- Getting that new picture taken for your driver’s license – Dealing with the government also seems to only be feasible during traditional work hours.
- Voting in an election – Although, this would make much more sense as a weekend activity.
Again, you get the idea. Sure, you can try to do these things on your hour-long lunch break, but it’s likely that you will be late getting back.
The second part of workplace flexibility is the option to work remotely.
With today’s technology, there is really very little stopping entire workforces from working remotely other than antiquated thinking. Most of today’s work is portable and it can be done almost anywhere. The above scenarios could also be alleviated by the ability to grab your laptop and go to the places you are needed. Or, you could get some laundry done instead of catching up on the latest gossip at the water cooler. The lack of a potentially long and stressful commute could add to the overall level of energy that you have to fully focus on work and add value to your personal life. Workers would save on gas and other transportation costs by being able to save the trip into the office for 1-2 days a week. This type of setup can leave workers feeling less stressed and more fulfilled in both their professional and personal endeavors.
Flexible schedules and remote work can benefit parents.
Have you ever had to drop a child off at daycare? It’s absolutely terrible. Although I do not yet have children, I see the struggles that parents sometimes face. Even if a parent puts their child into daycare, the stress of wondering if the blue minivan in front of you is going to stay stopped in a single file line until after you are already late for work can be overwhelming. Or if the daycare has to close due to inclement weather or a holiday and you still have to report to work, things can get a little worrisome. When parents have time to take care of their children’s needs and spend quality time with them, the children turn out better for it. This is important since their children are tomorrow’s workforce.
As you can see, there are many employee-level benefits for flexible schedules and remote working opportunities. Next week, we will look at how all of these perks of flexible workplaces can benefit employers.