Making flexibility work for your workplace

The great thing about flexible work arrangements is that there is no "one size fits all" model for employers or employees.  Flex work will look different depending on the needs of the company, the employees, the organizational culture and the tools available.

If your company is exploring flexible work arrangements, think of it as an opportunity to have an open dialogue with employees about what type of flexibility might work best for them.  This can be done by survey, focus groups or interviews, but ultimately the goal is to ensure you understand what flexibility looks like for your employees so you can design a program that fits for them and your organizational culture.  

Organizational culture plays a big role in your company's ability to adapt to new ways of working. Some employees may be more used to flexible work arrangements and see them as a necessary part of keeping work/life balance.  For others, especially employees who have a long history with the company, flexible work may be harder to understand or accept.  Consider all perspectives when implementing changes and be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that come from shifting from the way things have always been done.

As is the case with any type of change, implementing flexible work arrangements will benefit from a business case that highlights what you expect to get out of the program.  Many companies explore flexible workplaces because they are looking to:

- Be more competitive (enhanced ability to attract and retain top talent)

- Enhance productivity (less employee time lost)

- Be more environmentally friendly (reduced commute times, reduced office waste)

Whatever your reasons for exploring flexible work arrangements, be clear about what you're expecting to get out of them and how you will monitor success (and failure!).  Building in systems to track usage, performance and challenges with the program is a key.  This is another place where employee surveys and regular conversations can help you to understand how your employees are making use of flexible work arrangements and how the program might become more effective.  By encouraging discussion around flex work, you will not only have a better understanding of your program but will also continue to foster open dialogue and trust across your organization.