Flexible Work Arrangements For Your Workforce

As social distancing orders are lifted, and businesses reopen, employee requests for flexible hours and remote-work arrangements will be part of the new normal. Now that many employers have experienced how successful telecommuting can be for their organisation or how work hours that differ from the normal 9-to-5 can be adopted without causing dents into productivity, offering flexible work arrangements have become more commonplace.

Even in the absence of a pandemic, flexible work arrangements can improve recruitment and retention efforts, increase organisational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behaviour and help the organisation’s efforts to be socially responsible. Employers can experience cost savings, improved attendance and productivity, and an increase in employee engagement which almost always translates into more productivity.

Many U.S. workers now consider work/life balance and flexibility to be the most important factors in considering job offers. In fact, 81% of employees said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options, according to a 2020 survey by FlexJobs. However, offering flexible work arrangements can involve a paradigm shift for organisations, especially smaller ones that may not have the critical mass of technology, budget, management and competitive flexibility necessary to make extensive use of flexible work arrangements.

It’s tough to satisfy everyone. The following practical, real-world approaches will help you treat your people as the individuals they are without creating a chaotic mess of confusing, arbitrary exceptions.


Also Read: Top 13 Recruitment Assessment Tools for 2021


Start one-on-one to understand real employee needs

We might assume, a full 18 months into the pandemic experience, that we’re familiar with what our team members want and how they function best. But people change their minds, or want different things as their circumstances change. So before structuring schedules or work formats, take steps to learn about employees’ current situations in terms of physical work locations and scheduling and gauge their satisfaction with work assignments and career trajectory. Questions to ask include:

  • How well has your team been working together?
  • Do you have access to the decision-makers you need?
  • How well have you been able to arrange cross-functional collaborations?
  • Are there tools, information, or other kinds of support that would help you perform better?
  • How comfortable do you feel about your current work situation?

You won’t be able to satisfy every preference, but when employees trust that you have their best interests in mind, the likelihood of improved retention, productivity, and innovation increases.

Ensure alignment with your own employer branding

If you have a history and culture that treats employees as crucial stakeholders, they’ll expect you to give significant consideration to their preferences and needs. If you’ve always talked about “being like a family,” now’s the time to make that promise real and take care of all your “family members” by accommodating individual needs for schedule adjustments and even modifications to responsibilities when people are under particular duress. If you’ve emphasised that your employees are your most important asset, be sure that you’ve provided resources and communicated about how people can use them to ensure theirs and their families’ wellbeing. This might include providing access to or references or financial support for childcare, eldercare, or mental health services during what continues to be a difficult period.

Don’t mistake physical presence for loyalty

Many leaders once believed that employees speaking openly about wanting to protect or support themselves or their families was a sign that they might not be fully committed to their leaders, teams, organisations, or missions. Employees’ extraordinary dedication during the pandemic should have put that belief to rest. Today, leaders who are unwilling to accept employees’ commitments to the rest of their lives will have a significantly harder time holding on to staff. Whether they work on-premises or remotely, employees who feel supported in doing what’s right for their own lives are likely to feel even more strongly about their commitment to their organisation, rather than suffering from ongoing ambivalence, fear, or resentment — all of which are likely to have a negative impact on their work relationships and output.

This tailored approach will be challenging and time-consuming in the beginning, but it’s significantly less costly than watching your investment in critical staff walk out the door, or not being able to attract the specific talent you need. In the long-term, most employees will observe how well the organisation adapts to theirs and their colleagues’ needs and will end up gravitating to the most popular and effective programmes and solutions.

Advantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Defenders of flexible work initiatives point to the competitive advantages that such programs bring to companies that offer these sorts of programmes. Perhaps the single most cited reason for introducing a flexible work environment is employee retention. Indeed, many businesses stated that the recent trend toward flexible time and other programmes has made it necessary for them to introduce their own programmes or risk losing valued employees. “Another business argument for flexible work arrangements is that they allow companies to match the peaks and valleys of activity,” wrote Elizabeth Sheley in HRMagazine. “More organisations have shifted their focus to how potential changes in schedule will affect the product. Reduced absenteeism, though often overlooked, is also a legitimate business rationale; flexible options not only strengthen commitment, but also give employees more time to handle the very situations that sometimes lead to absenteeism.”

Flexible work programmes provide a way for businesses to increase employee loyalty without resorting to making fundamental changes in their operations. Indeed, Sheley observed that “the most popular flexible work options are those that involve the least change. Flexible time and compressed work weeks, for example, call for the same number of hours, at the same workplace, as in traditional work arrangements.”

Disadvantages of Flexible Work Programmes

Flexible work programs have many apparent advantages, but critics point out that ill-conceived programs can have a negative impact on businesses, and they add that even good programmes often present challenges that a business has to address. First of all, business owners and managers need to recognize that flexible work arrangements are not always appropriate for all people, jobs, or industries. Telecommuting and other “flexplace” arrangements, for example, can be disastrous (or at the very least a productivity drain) if used by employees who are unwilling or unable to put in a full day of work amid the non-work temptations (television, pleasure reading, housecleaning, etc.) of a home setting.

Critics also contend that flex programs often leave managers in exceedingly difficult situations. “Far too often, flex is embraced for its ‘family-friendly’ aspects long before the corporate support needed to manage it takes root,” wrote Martha H. Peak in Management Review. “In these companies, flexible policies are outlined in the employee manual but implementation is left up to individual managers. Then, when managers try to implement these programmes, they discover that to be fair, flex requires them to treat different employees differently.”

In today’s business world, flexible employment staples such as flextime and telecommuting continue to grow, in large measure because businesses that introduce them continue to prosper while simultaneously improving the quality of life of their employees. Looking ahead, it seems clear that flexible work programmes will continue to be used more and more frequently. With the rise of the Internet and rapid spread of high-speed connections to the Internet in homes and offices alike, the tools necessary to make flexible work programmes successful are multiplying. Creating a flexible work programme suitable for a particular business and company will continue to be an individual endeavour but one that is made ever easier with new technologies and communication tools.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/10/creating-flex-work-policies-when-everyone-has-different-needs
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingflexibleworkarrangements.aspx
https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/flexible-work-arrangements.html

Employees & What Drives Them Most Going Forward

The past year has accelerated digital transformation across sectors. Along with a universal recognition that resilient employees are the true lifeblood of a company came an understanding that a company’s workforce is quintessential to business recovery. This has prompted organisations to completely rethink how they attract, retain, and manage their talent.

Citrix wanted to understand what the current attitudes of both HR managers and knowledge workers are with regard to their future workforce. They conducted a study, which they called it the Talent Accelerator, as part of Citrix’s Work 2035 project, a year-long examination of global work patterns and plans designed to understand how work will change, and the role that technology will play in enabling people to perform at their best. The Talent Accelerator study combined research from more than 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors in large, established corporations and mid-market businesses with at least 500 employees all of them based in the United States. When the study was commissioned, both groups of professionals were working under permanent contracts and were currently or had recently been working from home as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

Employees (Now More than ever) expect flexible options

According to the study, 88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location. Also 83% predict that in response to the global skilled talent shortage, companies will leverage flexible work models in order to reach out to suitable candidates no matter where they live — yet, only 66% of HR directors feel the same. What is even more interesting:

  • 76% of the workers interviewed believe that employees will be more likely to prioritise family and personal interests over proximity to work, and will pursue jobs in locations where they can focus on both — even if it means taking a pay cut.
  • 83% of employees think that workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time, creating new work hubs in rural areas.

In order to position themselves to win in the future, companies will need to meet employees where they are.

Employees want to re-imagine how productivity is measured

In the future, companies will need to rethink how they measure productivity because traditional metrics — and views that real work can’t get done outside the office — will no longer cut it. According to the study, today’s employees want to be measured on the value they deliver, not the volume. And they expect to be given the space and trust they need to do their very best work, wherever they happen to be.

  • 86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritises outcomes over output. What does this mean? New employees want to work for a company that cares less about the qualified work output they are able to produce, and more about the impact they can deliver to the business in a holistic sense.
  • But there is a gap here, with just 69% of HR directors saying that their company currently operates in this way, and only half of HR directors saying that their organisation would be more productive as a whole if employees felt that their employer/senior management team trusted them to get the job done without monitoring their progress.

Forward-thinking companies will focus on closing this gap, and will design people-centric experiences that give employees the space they need to unlock their full potential and deliver transformative results.

Employees want to work with a diverse team

One thing on which both employees and managers seem to agree? Employees want to work for a company that prioritizes diversity.

  • 86% of employees and 66% of HR directors assert that a diverse workforce will become even more important as roles, skills, and company requirements change over time.
  • Honest, accessible metrics around your diversity progress and remaining gaps are critical to ensuring that efforts to build a diverse team are measurable, targeted, and impactful.

Without the restriction of location, business leaders must look at their recruiting from a broader lens and expand the potential to attract employees who can boost an organisation’s creativity and productivity.

They might, for instance, dip into untapped pools of talent such as the “home force” and bring back parents who’ve put their careers on hold to care for children, or people who left jobs to tend to aging relatives. It could also mean looking to Baby Boomers who’ve retired, but who still want to work a few hours per week. And it could mean enlisting more part-time, contract, and gig workers — who make up a larger percentage of the workforce than ever — to take on more hours. And, of course, it means looking for global talent that may reside anywhere.

learning and development: Top priority

New business models sparked by the pandemic and changes in customer preferences and needs have given rise to new roles and opportunities for companies — and their employees — to grow. Upskilling and reskilling will be critical factor in capitalising on them. As the study found:

  • 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe that workers will need to hone their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year in order to maintain competitive advantage in a global job market.
  • HR directors believe that ensuring that an organisation has the latest collaborative technology in place to enable agile learning is the most important factor in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and 88% of employees confirm this notion, saying that they look for this when searching for a new position.

It bears repeating: Organisations will need to prioritise reskilling and upskilling to attract and retain the talent they need to make their businesses grow. Those that do will not only boost the motivation of their existing workers, but will gain the attention of the brightest new recruits and position themselves to emerge from the pandemic not just where they were, but in a stronger, better position to move forward.

The last year has forever changed the way employees view and approach work, but one thing holds true: Businesses that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of their future workforce. They must embrace new, flexible work models and cultivate a workforce that can design their own careers. In doing so, they will not only boost the motivation and engagement of their existing workers, but will gain the attention of the brightest new recruits and take their business to new heights.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work
https://talentnote.teamtailor.com/the-5-things-employees-want-from-future-employers/
https://www.fastcompany.com/90538157/this-is-the-thing-employees-want-most-from-their-employers

Remote Work Is Here to Stay. But How?

Remote work forever? Implementing a hybrid system? Going back to the office full-time? Companies and their management teams have a lot to think about. have a lot of One of the success stories of the pandemic has been the adoption of remote work. A January 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for their company. That’s a 10% increase from a June 2020 survey. It’s a case of good news/bad news. While some companies survived because of the strength of their remote-work initiatives, getting employees to head back to the office has its own challenges. In fact, another January survey, by LiveCareer, found that one-third of workers would quit before going back to the office full-time. “We now know that remote work is good for many things, but not everything,” says global HR analyst Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte. At the same time, companies are going to need to balance the needs of employees with the company’s plans to get people back to the office and happy about being there, he says.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was rampant speculation that one of the long-term implications would be the end of the office. While the workplace will undoubtedly become a hybrid environment with more employees working remotely at least part of the time, the reality is that companies will still have offices. In fact, according to a poll of more than 200 respondents conducted during a recent Gartner webinar, only 1% of midsize companies are planning on becoming fully remote organisations. On the other end of the spectrum, only 5% of midsize companies are planning on having all employees come back to the physical workplace. The remaining 94% will have some mix of in-office, remote, and hybrid employees.

As more individuals are getting vaccinated, business leaders need to shift their thinking from the abstract question of where employees will work to the reality that there is a specific day on the calendar that some kind of return to the office will actually occur. That day appears to be approaching quickly, as the same Gartner poll found that 69% of midsize companies are planning on reopening their workplaces in the second half of 2021. The question of how to return to the office will be more challenging than the abrupt shift to remote work was in March of 2020, given the variability of rules, regulations, and people’s vaccination status.

Fostering a Safe Environment

The number one issue that has to be managed before employees come back to the office is safety, says Tami Simon, corporate consulting leader and senior vice president at Segal, a human resources and employee benefits consulting company. “Above all else, employees need to feel safe: physically, mentally, and financially. Employers should transparently describe how they plan to make their workplace a safe place,” she says. In addition to the physical measures companies need to take, employees need to feel like they won’t face consequences for expressing their needs or feeling reluctant to head back to the office, she says.

Many employees harbor concerns about how safe the workplace will be. Communicate your company’s reopening plan to employees well in advance of the actual date. Communications should indicate the actual safety measures you’ll have in place, as well as enhance perceptions of safety. For example, if employees commute primarily via mass transit, they’ll also be seeking guidance or reassurance about the safety of their journeys to work.

Define and communicate your hybrid work strategy. Gartner’s 2021 Hybrid Work Employee Survey of more than 2,400 knowledge workers found that 54% of employees agreed that their employer’s approach to flexibility will impact whether they’ll stay at their organization. A hybrid approach will allow employers to meet employees’ new flexibility preferences.

Rethink the Office Space

Create a space that people want to come back to. That may include changes to the physical space and accommodating needs like standing desks to help employees avoid being sedentary all day. If you are going to rotate employees who are in and out of the office, you may wish to consider abandoning fixed desks and create workstations that can be shared. This is an opportunity to reconsider how the work is done and where it’s done. Giving employees what they need, possibly including having their main workstation at home, will help them better adapt to the time spent in the office.

Management teams face a challenge in determining exactly who those mission-critical employees are. Some roles, such as sales or relationship management, that have historically been viewed as requiring face-to-face interaction, may need to evolve given changing health guidelines and customer preferences, as well as the advisability of travel for non-essential purposes. Other roles undeniably depend on onsite tools or technology and can’t be done effectively without them.

Likewise, it’s essential to recognize that workforces will need time to adapt to new ways of working post-pandemic. Employees coming back after an extended furlough or period of remote work may find the physical layout of their workplace changed and their shift schedule altered. For office workers, returning to a workplace may require a mindset shift for those who’ve adjusted to working remotely. In order to navigate these changes, management should make sure employees understand what’s being asked of them and what steps the company is taking to protect their health.

Re-acclimating an onsite workforce will present an enormous change management challenge for executives, who will need a communication strategy that can help employees who are returning to the workplace, as well as those who continue to work remotely, embrace a shared vision of what comes next. And they should work with human resources teams to prepare for a potential uptick in ethics and compliance complaints from employees whose concerns persist.

Providing employees with the chance to make their challenges and concerns known may help management teams identify potential problems with their return-to-the-workplace plans. By enabling real, two-way communication, leaders may turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to strengthen corporate culture, increase employee engagement and boost productivity and loyalty over the long run.

While the desire is to return to “normal” as quickly as possible, the reality is that the workplaces employees return to in 2021 will not look like the ones they left in 2020. Encouraging employees to get vaccinated is good, but it’s not enough. The companies that are thoughtful about safety, flexibility, and clear communication will have the most success as we enter another period of profound change.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.mmc.com/insights/publications/2020/july/bringing-employees-back-to-the-office-safely.html
https://hrexecutive.com/requiring-employees-to-return-to-the-office-get-ready-for-them-to-quit/
https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/04/21/getting-employees-back-to-the-office-safely-so-far-a-patchwork-quilt/?slreturn=20210428035444

Employee Harassment Online – How to Combat It

Harassment at work is prevalent and can be tough to combat. Being informed and prepared can help employees dealing with harassment recognise their rights and take action when needed. In some work environments, harassment may seem easy to brush off as playful camaraderie or “playing the game”, but it is no less serious than more direct, explicit bullying. Negative actions are often prompted by a harasser’s feelings of fear, disrespect or entitlement, but no matter the reasons, the only way to end workplace harassment is to properly address it.

U.S. law requires employers to create a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. But as offices go virtual, what happens when staff confront a torrent of hate and abuse online? Given that over 44% of Americans say they’ve experienced online harassment, chances are, if you’re an employer, you have people on staff who’ve been impacted. For those with public facing jobs (journalists, policymakers, academics, etc.), online abuse may well be part of day-to-day working life.

Although anyone can be subjected to online abuse, women, BIPOC, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately targeted for their identities and experience more severe forms of harassment. As more and more organisations proclaim their commitment to providing equitable and inclusive work environments, they can no longer afford to ignore the very real consequences of online abuse.

And yet the professional impact, within and across industries, is significantly understudied.

The creative and media sectors are among the few industries for which we have research. A 2017 PEN America survey of writers and journalists found that over a third of respondents who had experienced online abuse reported an impact on their professional lives, with 64% taking a break from social media, 37% avoiding certain topics in their writing, and 15% ceasing to publish altogether. A 2019 study from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which focused specifically on female and gender non-conforming journalists in the U.S., found that 90% cited online harassment as the single biggest threat they faced.

In other words, in the media sector, online abuse is damaging the professional prospects and chilling the speech of those already underrepresented in the industry. It is precisely the voices that most urgently need to be heard in debates around race, gender, and the rights of marginalised groups that are at the greatest risk of being silenced.

Employers need to do better. When staff are attacked online in a way that intersects with their professional life, organisations have a responsibility to take the abuse seriously, and help address it. Some employers may feel they don’t know where to start, but in fact there are many steps you can take to support your teams in preparing for, responding to, and mitigating the damage of online abuse.

Acknowledging the Harm

To create an environment where employees feel safe and supported enough to come forward when they are being abused online, leadership needs to let staff know that they take the issue seriously and expect managers and colleagues to do the same. Targets often suffer in isolation, partly because there’s still a great deal of stigma and shame associated with harassment, online or off. Many people who are disproportionately attacked online have also been marginalized in other spaces, so they may have legitimate concerns about being dismissed, mocked, or punished. A commitment to supporting staff who are being abused online can be formalized by amending existing policies and protocols around sexual harassment and social media use, communicated via all-staff emails and meetings, and reinforced by the ways in which managers and HR react to individual cases.

Online Protocols Setup & Training

When staff are being harassed online, they often have no idea where to turn or what to do. Arm them with the knowledge that there are concrete steps they can take to proactively protect themselves and respond. Having clear protocols can make staff feel safer and more empowered. To ensure staff are actually aware of these initiatives, employers can fold policies and protocols into onboarding and employee handbooks, post them on intranets and Slack channels, and encourage managers, HR, IT, and social media staff to reinforce them — and offer training.

Guarantee Resources

These should include: cybersecurity services that protect against hacking, impersonation, doxing, and identity theft, including password managers, such as Password or LastPass, and data scrubbers, such as DeleteMe or PrivacyDuck; mental health care or counseling; legal counseling; and guidance, such as PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual.

Support Groups

Online abuse is intended to be profoundly isolating, which is why giving staff a safe space to vent, share experiences, and exchange strategies is vitally important. Encourage staff to band together and create a peer support group. Just make sure they have adequate time and access to leadership to apply their hard-earned knowledge to help improve policies, protocols, and resources.

Escalate Certain Situations

From social media to email and messaging apps, most digital platforms have mechanisms to report online abuse. But sometimes these mechanisms fail. As an individual, it can be difficult to get a platform’s attention, but organisations often have direct contacts at tech companies. If a staff member has reported abuse that clearly violates terms of service and is nevertheless unable to get it removed, escalating the issue directly to tech company contacts can make all the difference.

We are facing an unprecedented moment in professional life. The hyper-digital world we’ve been plunged into is already exacerbating harassment and hate online. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement has put much-needed pressure on for-profit and nonprofit organisations to redouble their commitment to creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. Online abuse is a major stumbling block to these efforts. If organisations are serious about supporting staff who identify as women, nonbinary, or BIPOC, it’s high time to have their backs in the face of online attacks.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.wmlawyers.com/2017/06/social-media-workplace-harassment/
https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/workplace-campus-harassment/
https://hbr.org/2020/07/what-to-do-when-your-employee-is-harassed-online?ab=hero-main-text