The pandemic while it wreaked havoc for many, had a few positives to it. It taught us the importance of a healthy lifestyle, adaptability, co-existence of technology, and most importantly balance.
The work-life balance was a crucial takeaway from the lockdown effect of the pandemic.
Being confined to their homes, people got the taste of having a balanced work-life. Many discovered new skills and others got the chance to brush up on their talents. The pandemic led the way for a new generation of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The pandemic created new work norms such as working from home, partially working from the office, or the hybrid model or working away from home.
Flexibility was the key factor for enhanced workforce satisfaction during the work-from-home scenario. Workplace flexibility means the ability to change and adapt to new working styles.
According to research, two groups of IT professionals were interviewed; the group having workplace flexibility met their goals and was happier as compared to the group that worked from 9-5 in the office.
Flexible working scenarios can be one of the following –
- Work-from-home – This was the most common situation during the pandemic. Employees are provided with IT or infrastructure support such as laptops, desktops, internet, work desk, chair, or any other technical support they might require for the tasks. In return, they are expected to work from their homes during office time and complete their daily tasks and activities.
- Hybrid – In this case, the schedule is a blend of working from home and working from the office. A roaster or schedule helps to decide the days that require the employees to be present in the office. Sometimes, they enjoy the flexibility of deciding the days among themselves.
- Condensed schedule – Condensed schedule is one where the workers are required to complete 40 hours in a week but have the flexibility to decide the way they wish to complete it. For example – a person may choose to work a 10-hour shift and complete the 40 working hours in 4 days instead of an 8-hour work shift for five days.
- Flexible working hours – In this, the employees can decide the start and end times of their shifts. They can decide their working hours and schedule as long as tasks or projects are completed within the deadline and maintain the quality of work delivered.
- Remote work – Employees may choose to work remotely from their homes, or any other geographical location. They have the power to decide their work timings and schedules.
All these scenarios provide a conducive work environment and enhance employee satisfaction.
The advantages of such flexible working arrangements are –
- Work-life balance – A flexible working arrangement enables workers to seek a balance between their professional and personal life. It gives the advantage of spending time with their family or friends, pursuing any hobby, upskilling or upgrading themselves, focusing on their health, etc.
- Employee satisfaction – Employees are more motivated to work if they have the luxury to decide their schedules, work timings, and location. It boosts employee satisfaction.
- Increased productivity – Satisfaction generates a sense of reciprocity and the need to deliver quality output heading towards increased productivity.
- Employee retention – A study suggests that 80% of employees will stay loyal to their organization if they are offered flexible work. This shows that flexi-work will help organizations improve employee retention and create loyalty.
- Reduced overheads – Due to remote working, the companies save their overheads such as office rent, electricity, maintenance, and other infrastructural expenses.
- Time-saving – Employees save the time of commuting to the office and can instead utilize the time for more productive activities. It also saves fuel expenses, vehicle maintenance expenses, and any other expenses associated with traveling to and from the office.
- Focus on essential – Remote or flexible working arrangements helps the company to focus better on output and productivity rather than monitoring leaves, work timings, and incurring related expenses.
- Diversification – Remote working or flexi hours helps to accommodate differently abled employees, working mothers, and people with other family responsibilities.
A company benefits greatly if its employees are satisfied, productive, and feel included or heard.
Understanding these principles of people management is crucial for any HR manager. Hence people management skills are of prime importance in any company.
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