With the pandemic still raging on, lots of workplaces that can allow their employees to work from home changed up their setups. It just makes sense for many offices to allow their people to work from home as it’s safer. As long as there are already measures set in place, it promises better conditions and even lower operational costs for many companies.
However, working from home is not for everyone. This is a fact. Even if there are lots of benefits from being able to work from home like less time spent on commute, lower chances of getting exposed to the coronavirus, and more comfortable work setups, some people just don’t function well in such situations. Sure, they can make it work but it takes extra effort as compared to when they’re in an office setting.
Of course, there are also those who benefit a lot from the work from home setting. Some folks are capable of focusing better when they don’t have to be distracted by the many movements in an open layout office. Others also get to manage their time better when given the freedom to complete tasks at the time of their choosing.
With these said, it might be better to go for a flexible setting instead of choosing just one between working from home and working from an office. A flexible work setup will better cater to the needs of employees which can, of course, be beneficial for businesses as well. This good mix of two things will help workers achieve a good balance and get better results from the new circumstances they are forced into.
The Case for Flexible Remote Work
Before you end the lease of your business’ office space or campus, take these points into consideration as they might just make you reconsider offering a more flexible remote work.
Some people work better in an office setting
As mentioned above, not everyone is meant for working at home. There are lots of factors that can make people’s homes non-conducive for working and these can greatly affect a good portion of the population.
For example, some folks like the routine and the change of environment. Waking up on a schedule, commuting to work, and being in a different place put them in the right headspace to get productive. They associate the routine and space to being in the mood for working and it works for them.
While many can eventually rearrange their associations, some folks tend to have a hard time doing this. For many people, their home is not somewhere they are primed to get some work done and they’re not just about to change that mindset at a drop of the hat. As most folks also don’t have home offices or good spots in their homes to get some work tasks done, things get a bit more challenging.
For folks who are not wired to work from home, procrastination will be a major struggle. They can get distracted by a million and one things at home and put off their work tasks to do something else around the house thinking that they can work on whatever’s in their queue after.
By letting these folks go back to your office, however, such issues can be avoided.
Working in an office provides some social interaction
Social isolation is another issue the pandemic brought among the working class when most folks are forced to work from home. In 2019, 34.75 million single-person households were recorded in the US, so if a good chunk of that number is forced to work from home, they’ll be holed in their homes without anyone else to interact with on most days. It’s not an ideal situation for lots of people which is why experts now believe that cases of depression are also on the rise because of COVID-19.
Opening offices will allow your employees to get some social interaction even if it’s not on a daily basis. This will already suffice for lots of folks, especially when supplemented with video calls and meetings. In some cases, it’s already enough to be around other folks from time to time to not feel too isolated, so giving your employees the opportunity to be with their co-workers from time to time can also be a good idea.
Better life-work balance is promised which results in better productivity and employee loyalty
Studies show that those who enjoy flexible working arrangements also get to enjoy a better work-life balance. The freedom gives them to create a schedule and routine that works well for them. This, in turn, results in better productivity and even fosters employee loyalty as they are more inclined to appreciate what their employers are offering.
A lot of companies with flexible working arrangements also do not have to deal with high numbers of missed days of work because their employees get to work around a generous schedule. So instead of skipping work for something important, they just use the freedom they have to free up time that they can spend on other things. In most cases, absences are only spent on emergencies.
Workers can still feel that they’re a part of an organization
Allocating a specific workplace for your employees can also help give them a sense of belonging. While working at home does not diminish their status as a member of your team, not having anything physical or significant tying them to your organization is just not very reassuring. If they have somewhere to go to from time to time or on a schedule, they can get a good sense of belonging.
How Companies can Employ Flexible Remote Work Setups Effectively
If you’re considering going for a more flexible working arrangement with your team, here are a few ways that can help you set it up effectively.
Create a system.
Not because you’ll provide a good amount of freedom to your workers does it mean that there won’t be any rules and regulations to it. In fact, it’s crucial that you create an effective and well-thought-out plan for the arrangement so you don’t have to face any issues later on.
Create a remote work policy that is tailored to specifically meet the needs of your organization. Get your employee’s opinion on this matter so you can cover all of your bases without difficulty. Review the systems you have in place and evaluate whether they’ll be sufficient in implementing a flexible arrangement. Train your employees adequately, as well, especially if you’re going to use new technologies.
Open communication lines.
Ensuring that all parties can communicate easily is also a must if you’re going to employ a flexible arrangement. This is crucial as you should be able to reach whoever you need to tap to complete a task. The same should be the same for other employees and departments of your company so concerns can be addressed right away and without delay.
Offering support to your employees is also essential. They should know who to reach out to if they need anything. This will ensure that everything is running smoothly even if your arrangements offer a lot of freedom.
Allow standard work schedules.
If you have employees who prefer to have a specific, fixed schedule, let them do so. Again, some folks need the structure to be as productive as they can be. The main idea behind a flexible arrangement should be to cater to the needs of your employees first and foremost so if they wish for a more rigid setup, they should be allowed to stick to it as well.
Evaluate your setup and systems periodically.
To make sure that the flexible arrangement is working for everyone, it’s important to do regular checks from time to time. This will help you assess if your policies are working and if the flexible setting is beneficial for all parties involved.
Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: email@example.com