Given the tight labor market, many employers are thinking outside the box when it comes to benefits, perks and other ways to draw top talent to your open roles. One trend that has emerged in the increasingly competitive hiring landscape is workplace flexibility, such as working remotely and flexible hours.
According to the Workplace Flexibility Survey from Deloitte, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. professionals, 94 percent of employees indicate they would benefit from flexible work options. But 30 percent of respondents also reported that they fear potential consequences to their professional growth, if they tap into remote work, flexible hours and similar arrangements.
If flexible work is beneficial to your employees, it will ultimately be beneficial to your company's productivity and growth. Here are three important ways workplace flexibility can drive success in your business, and how to make the most of it.
1. Expand your potential labor pool geographically.
It can sometimes be challenging to find job applicants who are the right fit for your open roles in your exact city or market. But flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, enable you to cast a much wider net to secure qualified talent.
On my team of more than 200 employees, several dozen work remotely. Many of them work for our product, UX and engineering teams. By opening up our roles to remote applicants, we've had the opportunity to hire some of the best product and engineering talent in the country.
To set our communication between our in-office and remote teams up for success, we started video meetings and created video-enabled conference rooms. We also set aside two weeks--one to kick off the year each January and one in July--to have all employees physically in the office. This helps ensure everyone, including remote workers, truly feels like part of the team.
2. Reach a more diverse set of job applicants.
By making it clear that you offer flexible work arrangements--that means mentioning it on your company's careers page, in job descriptions, and during the interview process--you can attract prospective applicants who might not have otherwise considered working for your company.
As recently reported in The Washington Post, women outnumbered men in the workforce for only the second time. Key factors contributing to this were flexible work options, including working remotely, and parental leave policies.
Many of your employees--both men and women--likely have family and other personal obligations at home. Your employees want to succeed in their roles while still having time to see their children's sports games, pick them up for school and participate in other activities. And an increasing number of employees are looking for more work flexibility to care for aging parents and other relatives.
Often the most talented job seekers, whether or not they have family obligations, have work-life balance as a top consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a job. The employers that stand out and attract qualified employees understand the importance of offering and encouraging flexible work arrangements.
3. Drive productivity across your team.
Simply put, some employees don't necessarily do their best work sitting at a desk from nine to five. While one of your employees might be a morning person and thrive earlier in the day, another might be at their most productive well into the evening hours. Even something as simple as allowing employees to start the day an hour earlier or leave an hour later can make a world of difference with productivity.
Beyond time constraints, some employees tend to focus better without the distractions of an office setting. If this is the case and an employee doesn't have any critical team meetings on the calendar, he or she will likely be able to focus better on cranking out larger projects away from the office.
By encouraging both flexible hours and remote work on your team--as long as it isn't taken advantage of and doesn't disrupt day-to-day business operations--you can attract top talent, drive employee engagement and help provide an environment in which employees are set up for maximum productivity.