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Leveraging Workplace Flexibility for Engagement and Productivity

SHRM Foundation
This resource contains an extensive review of workplace flexibility, including the business case, description of a wide variety of workplace flexibility types, and steps for implementing workplace flexibility, among others. The resource also describes the various benefits of workplace flexibility for the organization and its employees, as well as the potential challenges with recommendations to address them. Throughout this resource, examples of implemented initiatives complement the information provided in the different sections.

Recommendations to successfully implement workplace flexibility:

  1. Assess the effects of flexibility: Consider the impact of new arrangements on employees, teams, clients, managers, and all relevant stakeholders.
  2. Understand compatibility: Evaluate job requirements to determine which jobs are better suited for what types of flexibility.
  3. Set clear performance goals: Manager and employee collaboration is needed to establish concrete and measurable objectives.
  4. Communicate: Constant communication between managers, employees, and co-workers helps navigate changes and keep others in the loop.
  5. Obtain feedback: Input from employees, clients, managers, and other relevant stakeholders ensures flexible work meets all parties’ needs and objectives.

Some challenges of workplace flexibility included in this resource are:

  • Challenge: Manager’s uncertainty about workplace flexibility results in their unit denying requests or in negative perceptions of employees on flexible work arrangements.

Recommendations: Provide managers with training, allow them to express concerns and collaborate on solutions, pilot workplace flexibility measuring results and sharing.

  • Challenge: Manager’s assumption that someone on flexible work arrangement would not be interested in a different job opportunity or promotion that did not have flexibility, leaving them out for future considerations of new opportunities.
  • Recommendations: Reinforce the importance of managing performance based on results, not face time, mandate considering flexible work arrangements for promotions as part of manager training.

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