Workplace Flexibility is much more meaningful than a practice of managing employee presence. It connects with the career well-being, happiness at work for the employees.
Workplace flexibility (Workflex) is the concept of having cohesive connections with the balanced arrangement of individual responsibility. It generates the demands of having flexible work arrangements in organizational practices to facilitate employee engagement for the jobs and the organizations.
Organizations offering flexible work arrangements often achieve better performance by the higher positive results produced by employees. Generally, workflex refers to the ability of working people to influence their engagement behaviors and acts toward work-related tasks through specific choices. Individually, workplace flexibility is about higher job satisfaction; lower work-related stress, and increased work interferences with personal life. For the sake of employers, workflex is appreciated as a constructive intervention to gain higher commitment, satisfaction, performance, group dynamics, retention, and so on.
In the era in which human capital is emphasized as having the power to sustain business growth, organizations are struggling with many vehicles to boost up strengths of their internal forces. We could consider Workflex as a part of it and examine, in your settings, to see if this intervention can be any helped to push up engagement levels.
So, what is Workplace Flexibility?
Workflex refers to a wide range of formal and informal practices and policies highlighting attitudes and values at the workplace (underlying through working climate and organizational culture), work designs and employment structures, interpersonal communications and interactions, and so on. These practices construct and then re-construct the experience of workflex. Alongside flexibility policies, organizations could enhance the effects of workflex power through a supportive working environment, workload and backlog control, participative supervision, perceived control, schedule flexibility, etc. In this business era, workflex is much more than a practice but a vehicle to bolster organizational commitment. It is perceived as “the opportunity of employees to make choices influencing when, where, and for how long they engage in work-related tasks.”
Integration of quantitative and qualitative workplace flexibility is as a powerful vehicle for individual engagement in work-related tasks.
Qualitative workplace flexibility refers to workplace practices that facilitate the rational assigning of individuals to specific tasks in a more adaptable manner. In that case, employees are having high autonomy and self-control in performing their works. Qualitative flexibility depends on the nature of the work itself, including types of work, ways of completion, and needed skills without concerns on where and when the work performs. Forms of qualitative workplace flexibility are employee involvement, job rotation, teamwork, autonomy, use of multiple skills, etc. Those practices offer a chance for employees to self-decide tasks and works, how to do it and how to develop themselves.
Quantitative workplace flexibility refers to when and where the work is completed with how much time is required. It is a measurable type of workplace flexibility. Forms of quantitative workplace flexibility are:
- Flexible work time or flextime refers to work time arrangements regarding hours. Flextime formulates practices as control over start-and-end times, staggered hours, compressed workweeks, choice in how many hours to work each week.
- Remote work: an ability of employees to work from some places rather than an office, such as home, hotel, coffee shop, etc. Thanking to technological advances that remote work is not the constraint of the smooth and frequent flow of communication.
- Occasional use of flexibility: a right of employees to take a few hours off during the day or coming late in the morning, or leaving early for specific events, but on an occasional basis.
- Part-time work: a formal arrangement with hours and parameters being different from job to job without the full working-week schedule.
- Job-sharing: an ability that employees could jointly share a full-time job creating part-time jobs. Such, working hours, allowance, etc. are split between them.
Great benefits of workplace flexibility have been recognized in today’s business environment. It associates with better mental health and resilience that is extremely important for an effective employee dealing with an avalanche of stressors as economic turbulence and higher demands of working nature. Apart from that, the fact that workflex correlates to employee engagement is widely alleged. Yet, how organizations could adopt and utilize its potential are still the big question. One answer for all cases is impossible, yet answers by a common sense of thought will suggest specific mechanisms for employers.
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