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The Importance of Work Flexibility

Inc. logo Inc. 7/28/2022 Steve Chambers
The Importance of Work Flexibility © Provided by Inc. The Importance of Work Flexibility

The pandemic has given work-life balance new meaning

The meaning behind “work-life balance” has changed tremendously since the start of the pandemic. Companies across all industries are adopting new remote work models and mental health programs, and some are even testing a four-day work week. The UPS Store® is experiencing an increase in brand interest because of the flexibility that comes with franchising. Whether you’re a franchisor, small business, or corporation, providing employees with work-life balance and flexibility must be a priority to attract and retain talent. Here are some ways to incorporate work flexibility into your business model and culture.

Encourage employees to use PTO

Encouraging employees to use their paid time off (PTO) is vital to prevent burnout. Giving them ample time to rest and recharge will help them--and your business--stay on track. Employees often feel they must justify why they are requesting time off, leading them to use it sparingly. For organizations that only offer a set amount of vacation days, there are a few ways to promote scheduling time off.

A few organizations have begun incentivizing employees to take more vacation time by paying them extra to do so. Payments can be set up as bonuses employees can receive before or after they return from taking time off. These payments can also be designed for a specific number of days the employees must use.

One of the best ways to encourage employees to use their PTO is to lead by example. When leaders take time off, they cultivate a culture that emphasizes rest and prioritizing mental health. Other tips to motivate employees to use and enjoy their time off include creating company-wide holidays, using vacation planning tools to help them schedule their time off, or sending monthly vacation balance reminders.

Allow remote work

Years ago, remote work was rare, as many organizations were concerned about employees being distracted and unmotivated outside of the office. In the wake of the global pandemic, employers had to quickly formulate game plans to keep their businesses operating while limiting the spread of the virus. Providing the most flexibility, a hybrid work model helps businesses adapt by allowing employees to decide where they’re most productive--whether it’s the office, coworking spaces, or at home.

Studies show that remote work has been an overwhelming success for both employees and employers. Remote workers been more productive, often due to taking longer breaks and making up for this time by working more hours. When implemented correctly, remote workers are also more satisfied due to better work-life balance that allows them to successfully blend work and personal obligations.

Implement flextime

While typical “work hours” continue to be nine to five, Monday through Friday, flextime allows for a more adaptable schedule. With flextime, employees can choose when they arrive and depart, within a certain time range. Flextime can also include factors such as remote, in-office, or hybrid workplace options.

Implementing flextime allows employees to have more control of their schedules and lessens employees’ stress, as they can better accommodate non-work responsibilities. By having the opportunity to create their own schedules, employees can log on earlier to fit in a midday doctor appointment or log on later in the morning after handling childcare drop-off.

Incorporating flexibility into your business model provides several advantages for both employees and employers. While it is up to each business to determine how it interprets flexibility based on bottom lines, the benefits can be improved retention, attracting top talent, and keeping employees engaged and productive. Failure to adopt such policies may affect recruitment and retention as employees and candidates explore opportunities that provide flexible work arrangements and greater autonomy over their time.

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