Workplace flexibility: Does it boost or shrink productivity?

Key takeaways: 

  • Flexible work is the new trend in the modern workplace and it’s here to stay
  • Having the flexibility to choose where and when you work can improve productivity 
  • Several studies show that workplace flexibility benefits workers and employers in many ways

Many employees today are continuing to discard traditional office work patterns that confine them to a “9-to-5” working mold, instopting for workplace flexibility. Employees want a balance between their work and personal lives, so forward-thinking and supportive employers have continued to embrace flexible working arrangements. 

In addition to the continuing emphasis on work-life balance for employees, the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the need for remote work among millions of workers worldwide. During the massive shift to working from home due to COVID, remote employees leveraged digital tech more frequently through software and devices when working remotely. According to Gartner, in 2022, 25% of the global knowledge workforce will choose home as the primary workplace, and 45% of the workforce will be working from home two to three days per week. Many employees feel that a hybrid workplace makes them happier and more productive.

Some studies have shown that working from home and flexible work decreases productivity. But there is a lot of data now that shows the opposite to be true, particularly post-pandemic. So, how do flexible work arrangements impact productivity? Let’s look at the numbers. 

What Makes Flexible Working More Efficient?

These arrangements allow workers to customize the hours, days, and locations they work, so that they can better balance their work and personal lives. An employer can adopt different flexible work formats to suit their organization’s needs. Below are some common flexible work arrangements: 

  • Part-time jobs
  • Fully remote teams
  • Compressed work weeks where employees can work 40 hours in four days instead of five
  • Shift jobs 
  • Temporary jobs
  • Seasonal jobs
  • Gig work

Flexible work increases productivity

Initially, there was some debate over whether workplace flexibility enhances or decreases productivity. Well, according to studies, flexible work significantly improves employee productivity and morale. One survey on work-from-home benefits discovered that flexible employees work on average 1.4 more days monthly than conventional office employees. That means they offer their employers 16.8 more days annually! 

What causes this enhanced productivity? Here are some reasons different studies have observed: 

  • Different people are more productive at different times of the day. Therefore, timing their jobs to fit within those hours allows them to work when they’re at their most productive and efficient. 
  • Discarding the traditional 9-to-5 setting allows workers to handle their physical and psychological health better, reducing burnout. Research also reveals that companies with moderate to severe employee burnout suffer a productivity decrease of 22%. 
  • Employees who can spend more time with their loved ones and accomplish other tasks at certain times are happier. Flexible work can offer a better work-life balance. A Warwick study showed that this happiness makes workers 12% more productive than their stressed colleagues. 

A 2021 Gartner survey on digital worker experience revealed that 43% of people said flexible working hours boosted their productivity. Another 30% of respondents said that less or no time commuting enhanced their productivity. 

Only 26% of respondents said that flexible work hours reduced their productivity. However, their productivity declined because of technological challenges like internet connectivity, and not the flexible work arrangement. 

As we all know, in 2020, remote work exploded, and led to a more freeing feeling for many workers as they were able to work from home or other locations. Many people realized that remote work was key for a better work-life balance. 

Should businesses implement flexible working hours?

How does a flexible work arrangement benefit employers and employees? This section examines some of the leading advantages. 

-Increased job satisfaction

Workers enjoy increased creativity, energy levels, morale, and job satisfaction when their employers let them work at times that are most convenient for them. One survey revealed that 41% of remote employees agree that flexible working increased their communication, creativity, and innovation. 

-Improves work-life balance

Flexible work also helps employees enjoy a better work–life balance. In many families, both parents are working full time. This flexible arrangement allows parents with younger kids to care for them at more convenient times. 

It also enables families to foster stronger parent-child bonds. Eventually, parents can optimally work without undue stress and worry about their younger children. 

-Reduced absenteeism

Increased stress levels and the inability to manage existing health issues increase workplace absenteeism. These conditions directly reduce employee productivity levels. Fortunately, working remotely enables workers to better address their health issues, boosting their productivity. 

-Improved diversity and inclusivity 

Flexible work arrangements increase inclusivity and diversity. For instance, people with disabilities can comfortably work from home. It also ensures that employers open their hiring to qualified candidates from all locations. 

A 2019 McKinsey study found that companies with higher diversity and inclusivity perform better than those without them. 

-Talent retention

Companies that allow their employees to work remotely are more likely to retain them for longer than those that don’t. Another 2018 survey discovered that a whopping 80% of workers would choose jobs with flexible working schedules instead of those without. Another 30% of respondents said they preferred flexible scheduling to additional vacation time. 

Companies seeking to retain top talent, especially millennials who dominate the U.S. workforce, should consider embracing this concept. It may make top talent favor your business more and stick around for longer. 

-Improve your financial processes 

Your business will also benefit from the flexible work model by reducing office management and overhead costs. When employees work from home, you don’t need to rent a bigger office space or buy additional equipment because remote employees generally have their own. 

-More efficient communication between employees

Finally, working remotely allows employees to actually have more efficient communication because of its nature. In the office, many employees spend working time taking coffee breaks and engaging in idle small talk. Remote workers, on the other hand, leverage technology to connect with their telecommuting colleagues and generally stick to work topics more frequently. 

Group of people having a video conference shows workplace flexibility

Start your outsourcing journey with DOXA today

Remote and flexible work is a fast-growing trend that is advantageous to everyone involved. It benefits employers and employees by boosting productivity in many cost-effective ways. Companies can benefit from implementing flexible schedules that help people attain better work-life balances leading to happier, more productive employees.

 

Flexible work can easily be outsourced to a reputable BPO service provider like DOXA. DOXA helps small and mid-sized businesses optimize remote talent. Our custom, tech-driven solutions enable your business to enjoy a competitive advantage within your locality and industry. 

Don’t fall behind your competitors. We can help you accelerate your growth with a flexible, cost-effective labor force. Contact us today for a free 20-minute consultation to access borderless talent.™ 

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