The advantages and disadvantages of flexible working
Nobody likes restrictions. Especially in the Indian scenario where parents are usually used to keeping maximum restrictions on their children and the children wishing nothing but growing up to be independent and out of those restrictions. Unfortunately, they grow up to realize that growing up and being “independent” means having even more restrictions put on you by your employer which even worse consequences if you do not follow them.
When a company introduces a little bit of flexibility into the employees, they appreciation is massive as they feel like they are treated like an adult and not always under the control of someone. The whole notion is a move from employees working FOR the company to employees providing a service for which they ask money and other benefits for in exchange of that work.
Flexibility in work includes flexible work timings, where they work from, how they pace themselves, flexible leave.
While it is a wonderful factor to employees, there can be drawbacks to this flexibility. Let us find out the pros and cons of having flexibility in working.
Larger talent pool
The jobs which are always in demand or skills and experience that has high value will always be fighting for good talent. When it comes to companies that are based in main cities, the competition will be even more fierce with many other established companies searching for the same talent. Having flexible working conditions can be of advantage here due to two reasons. One, candidates always prefer flexible working conditions so even if a good talent has offers from other companies, just because of the flexibility, they might consider yours over the other offers. And two, with flexibility, you do not necessarily have to restrict your talent search within that city. You can have talents from all over the world apply if your flexible working conditions allow them to work away from the office.
Lower office costs
Instead of having 100 systems and equipment in a huge office for all the employees who work there, if there are 50 systems and equipment in a smaller office with 100 employees but the employees come in turns or different timings, then this could be highly cost-effective for your company. You only have to allocate desks as and when employees arrive.
Like mentioned, when employees feel that they are being treated like an adult who can be trusted, they will be happier to do the job as it will be less out of force and more out of one’s own commitment. An environment that they choose, which works best according to their schedule will optimize results. Work-life balance will be so much more for employees with better flexibility. A happier employee means lesser sick day calls.
Corporate life is not something associated with anything pleasant and happy. Hence, the more a company moves away from that routine, the more they come across as a progressive company. This is very appealing and attractive to potential prospects. Maximum retention will also exist in companies that don’t force work on its employees.
Making the right judgements
Irrespective of how progressive and employee-friendly a company is, complaints will remain. There will be a lot of requests from the side of employees to be more flexible in different aspects. Only a very few of them can be actually implemented. Finding out which of those suggestions are worth implementing is a hard job. You might have to prioritize the requests, some even conflicting and contradicting, but according to your emotional intelligence, you will have to make a decision.
Ensuring ongoing productivity
It is a genuine concern that when more flexibility in working conditions is provided, the productivity might be altered. What is the guarantee that with more freedom given to employees, they will choose to work than laze around? This is a matter of communication. When flexibility is more, managers will have to communicate better with employees in order to be updated about the work and make sure they are on track.
Lack of contact
One of the byproducts of flexibility in working conditions is the ability to work from elsewhere and not necessarily within the four walls of the office. When it comes to communication during this time, many old-school managers and business people feel that there is no ideal replacement for face-to-face communication. However, technology has given us all alternatives to anything done the old-school way.
While implementing flexible working conditions will make you look progressive and make your employees happier, you will have to take extra measure to make sure that your employees do not take advantage of the flexibility and laze away. Communication is key and as is trust. If your employees are not trustworthy, flexibility might not be what gives you the most productivity. Implement it to the right crowd and it will only be advantageous to you.