Flexible Corporate Culture: Finding that Fit

During the election, both candidates highlighted and discussed the need for workplace flexibility. Unfortunately, their focus was on this issue for women while in truth work/life fit is a priority for employed men and women.

The election is over. It is time to take action.

How do you implement a flexible workplace program while avoiding the pitfalls? If you need a reminder of work/life fit program benefits for your business, click here.

We don’t have all the answers, but we know the workplace of the future is a flexible one.

Workplace flexibility components include:

  • Location (telecommuting, virtual work)
  • Time (compressed work weeks, flexible hours, part-time schedules)
  • Duration (shift-swapping, job-sharing, discretionary leave)

How to start living the work/life fit company culture:

  • Involve a significant number of employees (i.e. at least 50%) in developing a vision to guide this strategy. Don’t delegate workplace flexibility implementation to the Human Resources department.
  • Make it an across the board, business imperative. Don’t use the words “benefit,” “perk” or “program.” It is a business strategy. The bottom line depends on it.
  • Recognize and respect all employees need flexibility to manage work and life. Single, married, young or old, all employees strive to manage work and life.
  • Live it. Communicate it. Walk the talk. The focus is getting the work done. The where and how are flexibility in action.

Avoid the pitfalls:

  • From the top down, executives and leaders need to embrace and communicate the strategy. Those accustomed to a 9-to-5 schedule need to deprogram their old way of thinking and understand the importance of success of this new way of working.
  • Ensure work/life flex is open and accessible to all employees. Remember: there is no “why” someone needs flexibility; it is about getting the work done. Period.
  • Address all team members’ fears. Employees will fear the backlash from their managers and/or co-workers, losing their jobs and automatic reduction of income. Leaders and managers will fear some of the same backlash from their peers and colleagues as well as worry about “how” the work will still get done.

The potential benefit of workplace flexibility is huge – for your employees, customers and bottom line. Rest assured, if you’re not doing it, your competition is.

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