Many flexible workplace solutions can serve as bridges to greater success for employees and employers alike.
Shani Magosky of Vitesse Consulting, LLC offers a sampling of less conventional, highly creative forms of flexwork that have also proven to be effective at attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent.
- Flexible career – This is a broad category for enabling employees to dial their careers up or down at various points and includes options such as career on/off ramps, phased return from leave, phased retirement, sabbaticals, and extended leaves.
- Flexible workspace – Creating casual spaces for formal or informal meetings is not only a nice perk, but it also supports innovation. Some companies are even utilizing outdoor workspace, knowing that fresh air enhances productivity and creativity.
- Flexible dependent care – On-site child care for the obvious charges is one way to provide flexibility. Some companies extend the privilege to fuzzier dependents, allowing dogs or other small pets at work.
- Flexible break arrangements – Offering long lunch breaks so that employees can exercise or accomplish personal errands aids better focus and eliminates distractions for the afternoon.
- Project flexibility – Stimulate staff while driving innovation. Google set the standard here, affording all employees the option of working on a project of their choice during 20% of work time. On a smaller scale, Target holds “Big Idea” contests, in which winning employees receive time and money to develop prototypes for their projects.
- Dual-career family flexibility – People don’t live in a vacuum. Internal research by Nestlé confirmed that compromising a spouse’s career was a barrier to any advancement requiring relocation for both men and women (and fully 80% of its high-potential women in dual-career families). Nestlé tackled the problem by extending relocation support services to spouses.
- Flexibility with overwork – The new normal is doing more with less, but don’t let people get burned out by tedious work or an unsustainably high workload. That costs more in the long run in healthcare and turnover costs than does providing ongoing support that frees up knowledge workers to focus more time on meaningful work. For example, Pfizer offers a unique twist on outsourcing that lets overburdened employees farm out certain tasks through a program called PfizerWorks.
Magosky opines that one size does not fit all, but with the application of flexible approaches in a variety of areas most people will consistently exceed expectations and deliver high quality results.
Shani Magosky heads Vitesse Consulting and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970.376.1860.