How Flexibility in the Workplace Impacts Retention
Retaining employees amidst the Great Resignation is a top priority for HR professionals, and it will likely remain an issue for the foreseeable future. Employers across the country are now scrambling to add perks like flexibility in the workplace and hybrid work schedules to prevent mass employee exits.
For our 2021 Talent Retention Report, we asked 3,948 workers from 57 industries in the U.S. what would make them leave their jobs in hopes that their answers would provide employers insight into improving employee retention. The top three responses to the question were:
- A raise
- Advancement opportunities
- A flexible schedule
If offering increased compensation or promotions aren’t in the cards for you — don’t worry. Extending flexible scheduling to your employees, which may include remote work, hybrid work schedules, alternative working schedules, or a generous paid time off policy, can help boost retention
What is Workplace Flexibility?
Flexibility in the workplace varies from employer to employer. Ultimately, workplace flexibility means that your company defines “work” differently and has its own guidelines for how, when, and where employees do their jobs.
While most employers may immediately associate workplace flexibility with remote work, other popular flexible work options include:
- Part-time employment (employees work less than 40 hours a week)
- Telecommuting (employees work from home or work remotely)
- Hybrid work schedules (employees work from home part of the time and in the office the other part of the time)
- Alternative work schedules (employees work a schedule that’s different than a typical “9-to-5” schedule)
- Flex time (employees are available within core hours during the day but may vary the times they arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon)
- Compressed workweeks (employees work at least 40 hours across fewer than five days — for example, four 10-hour days vs. five eight-hour days)
- Generous paid-time-off policy (employers offer more PTO to help employees achieve greater work/life balance)
What works for one organization may not work for your organization. Review your business structure to determine what kind of workplace flexibility is right for you and how you can implement it successfully at your company.
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Why is Flexibility in the Workplace Important?
What was once viewed as a “nice-to-have” workplace perk is now expected among prospective and current employees. In the early days of the pandemic, many employers allowed extreme workplace flexibility as employees tried to cope with the uncertainty of their new situation, which included working from home, helping their child(ren) with virtual schooling, and managing a blurred line between work-home life.
Jobs with flexible hours became commonplace, as did hybrid and remote work schedules. Flash forward to the present, and workplace flexibility is an expected benefit. It helps employees manage their stress levels and burnout, as well as fulfill outside obligations (e.g., caregiving) and gain autonomy over their work life. In fact, our 2021 Talent Retention Report revealed that 62.8% of employees would leave a job due to a poor work/life balance.
How Does Workplace Flexibility Affect Retention?
You may be wondering how flexible work schedules benefit both you (the employer) and the employee. Workplace flexibility directly affects your employee turnover rates. According to our Talent Retention Report, 41.3% of survey respondents said they’d be willing to stay at a job if offered improved workplace flexibility options.
When employees are given the flexibility to properly manage their non-work responsibilities, they tend to be less stressed, as well as more engaged, productive, and loyal to a company. In a time when employees are leaving their posts in record numbers, building employee loyalty and boosting engagement can significantly set your company apart from competitors, enticing current employees to stay and attracting new employees too.
How to Add Flexibility Into Your Workplace
Implementing flexibility in the workplace can be daunting, as changing your policies to accommodate flexible scheduling, alternative working arrangements, and hybrid or remote options is unfamiliar territory. Make sure to check out our Employer Resource Center to discover ways to make your workplace more flexible.