Meredith Schneider for Hive
When the pandemic set in and the majority of the world’s workforce was effectively forced to work from home, things changed drastically. After adapting to an environment that had otherwise been foreign to your work mode, you learned to navigate your non-negotiables in the workplace. The time apart, in a sense, made it much easier to notice what just wasn’t working on a very different level from before.
But it is a fact that even before the pandemic, about 80% of workers polled wished for a more flexible work schedule. Now? 95 percent of workers pine after a flexible working schedule. This includes flex-time options and more compressed workweeks.
Companies that offer a remote-first schedule see working remotely as a default way of working. Remote-first companies don’t care where you work from, as long as the work is done. Remote-first companies treat remote work as their basic foundation, not an experiment, an afterthought, a perk.
Unlike a remote-first business, a remote-friendly company offers flexibility to employees to work from a location different than the office, somedays out of the week, or during a specific and pre-negotiated period. In this case, remote work is considered a benefit, a privileged offered to certain departments and employees. For example, an employee may work from home 1-2 days a week.
Companies based in a hybrid work environment are the ones that offer the flexibility to employees of working remotely or at the office, per their convenience or following a determined schedule. This model can impose certain rules, such as mandatory office Mondays for better tracking and planning the workflow for the week or full-remote Fridays when the office closes and everyone works from home. Hybrid work also means the flexibility to host conference meetings with some employees at the office while others work remotely in different locations.
Some variations in hybrid work models depend on the business industry and the team’s areas of expertise. The partly remote hybrid model is present in companies that allow some teams to be fully-remote (e.g., Marketing Team) while other departments (e.g., Human Resources) are office bounds. It’s also common to have an entire team working in person at the office on some days while others work remotely. The partly remote hybrid mode is also a great alternative for companies with distributed teams.
Now that we discussed some of the most common types of flexible work models, let’s talk about what are the true benefits of swapping your normal routine for something a little less conventional. Get ready!
Have you ever been sitting at your desk waiting on someone else to finish a task in your project, just so you can begin to tackle your portion of it? Or maybe you (finally) got your inbox down to zero, just to find that you have nothing left to work on for the rest of the day, but it’s only 2:30 pm?
Being stuck at the office from nine to five, eight to four, or really any set schedule can really make the hours drag when you have completed all of your work obligations. According to our own Remote Work Survey, 86% percent of workers said they have discovered their productivity at home is the same or better than in an office. A flexible work schedule allows for you to pop in and work on tasks when they’re ready for you, and to get to your work when you have the energy to accomplish it efficiently.
Are you more productive with a mid-day nap or early morning workout configured into your schedule? Do you get inspired by mid-day chats with your friends, or a quick movie or television break? Perfect. Be sure to prioritize those activities if you’ve been given a more flexible work schedule opportunity.
If you experience more energy in the early hours and would prefer to get your work completed during that time, you should be able to. It can be easier to batch items when emails aren’t rolling through your inbox quite yet, so you may find that you have fewer distractions logging in at the top of the day. The same can be said for people who like to work later in the day, and whose work may carry into more unconventional evening hours. Engagement goes up in the workplace when you choose to work when your brain is most effective.
According to recent research, having a flexible work schedule or the ability to create your own hours and complete tasks on a schedule that aligns with your energy ebbs and flows is actually a sign of top-tier leadership. Firstly, they recognize that work-flex options are an amazing benefit to offer their employees. This can especially benefit managers that have smaller budgets to work with, as it is cost-effective – in most cases, absolutely free – benefit to offer the team. It can also cut out the annoyance of commuting regularly, which can add up to a lot of time and money wasted. So, it’s a perk on a perk!
Flexible work schedules assert a level of respect between C-Suite members, owners and upper management and their employees. Where businesses that may not fully trust their workers to get their tasks finished want to have everyone in the office during specific hours every single day and encourage micromanagement, it is a massive sign of trust to have flexible or remote hours. In these instances, management has less of a chance to stand by and ensure you’re working every single moment of the workday. It simply feels better to not have someone breathing down your neck, and it definitely reduces the chances of overwhelm. Trust breeds trust, as well as talent and innovation.
Good leaders are exceptional because they know how to attract talent and keep their people innovating in the space. They take advantage of their resources as they can, and value their workers and the environments that provide inspiration for their work. They care about the health of their team and prioritize their well-being. After all, it’s almost impossible to work when you are suffering from an ailment. A flexible work schedule ensures that you can rest when you need to, and truly take yourself to task when you are operating at higher levels.
Top talent in almost every industry wants to be treated with respect and trust for their years of experience and their body of work. Since a flexible work schedule inserts another layer of trust amongst employees, this type of work schedule is especially attractive for people looking to further their careers. It is also ideal for people who are seasoned vets in their positions and know how to create a schedule based on their energy flow, as mentioned earlier. Highly skilled workers are noticing their value a lot more frequently now, and the benefit of work-flex can be very attractive to them.
Diversity is a key factor in the hiring and retention processes, especially with what we have learned over the last couple of years. Having the ability to work around your own schedule or have a hybrid work situation can be very helpful for improving diversity in the workplace. This is because some of the most talented workers might be mothers or fathers who have to work around some of their kids’ scheduling as they get older. Many workers may have disabilities that prevent them from working well in a conventional work environment, but that does not affect them in a flexible work or hybrid environment. People from all different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses and geographical locations have more opportunities to thrive within a position when allowed to work at their own pace with reasonable guidelines.
The fact of the matter is that fixed schedules just are not what they used to be. So why not try a new approach? No matter how you choose to offer a more flexible working environment, do your best to set yourself up for success. Ensure that you don’t have your systems and inbox open for more than you should each day, as it can be a little more difficult to set boundaries when your working and living locations are the same.
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