Workplace Flexibility Series: Part 3 of 3
The Workplace Flexibility Mindset
How does workplace flexibility differ from employee to employer? What does it mean to be flexible? These are critical questions to consider when creating a flexible workplace that benefits everyone.
Across our flexible workplace series, we explored the different workplace flexibility models and how lifestyles fit into flexible workplaces. Below we’re discovering how employees and employers alike can begin to implement flexibility into their workplaces.
Flexibility is about being prepared and ready for change – anticipating the unexpected. We can’t predict everything that’s going to happen in the workplace, but we can accept that while we may not have control over the situation, we can control how we react to it.
How To Become Flexible In The Workplace
Like many other skills, flexibility can be learned. With practice and patience, flexibility can improve the overall experience of a workplace, allowing individuals to develop tools and resources to overcome anything thrown their way. Different industries will require other skills to become flexible in the workplace.
Tips For Employees To Become Flexible:
1. Stay up to date on industry trends.
Once we adapt to our work routines, it’s hard to stay open to industry updates and changing expectations. It’s essential to pay attention to changes and trends in the industry you work in. Keep tabs on your competition and new research that may arise that impact the way you work.
2. Be optimistic
When things don’t go our way, it’s easy to fall into a negative mindset; it’s human nature. Instead, try and find the benefits and positive outcomes to account for any change in plans. Spend your time searching for a solution and not beating yourself up.
3. Openly communicate expectations
In order to be working at your highest level, you need to be able to communicate what your work needs and expectations are. Is your morning commute adding unnecessary anxiety to your day? Suggest half hybrid days where you start your work day at home and head to the office after your lunch. Workplace flexibility allows employees’ needs to be tended to while meeting their employers’ expectations.
The quickest way to implement flexibility in the workplace is to create a work environment that supports employees’ needs. When employees feel safe and supported in their work environment, they are more likely to cover work, take on extra tasks and upskill themselves to improve their work, creating a sense of mutual support between coworkers.
Examples of employee flexibility:
- Learning new software and skills
- Taking on criticism to improve performance
- Adapting work days based on priority and problems
- Pitching in to help with upcoming deadlines of their coworkers
How employers can become more flexible:
Flexible mindsets in the workplace respond well to change and quickly adapt to new environments. A flexible workplace is an environment that encourages everyone to adopt this skill. A flexible management team treats its employees as individuals and makes the extra effort to accommodate their needs and different working styles.
1. Productive and proactive feedback
Flexible managers provide their workers with feedback that can guide their future endeavours. By assessing their needs, they can create a working guide that optimises their performance.
2. Constant meetings and emails can become overbearing
This is especially overwhelming when they predominantly focus on complaints and criticism. Instead, try to focus on tailored solutions that benefit the employee.
3. Taking a moment to reflect when issues arise
Collecting thoughts before addressing problems can create a world of difference in an employee’s self-esteem in the workplace. Focus on productive communication over reactive communication is key to creating a safe and open workplace.
Examples of employer flexibility:
- Integrate guidelines that match individual work styles and preferences
- Providing allowances for different lifestyles (early leave for parents)
- Reward systems for engaged employees
- Praise and recognition of achievements
The patterns of flexible employees will differ from traditional office hours, responsibilities and locations. Workplace flexibility can be as simple as staggered work hours. But when we get into more in-depth arrangements, things like remote/hybrid working, condensed work weeks and responsibility-sharing come into play.
Job satisfaction and productivity can be impacted by the freedom employees have on where, how and when they are allowed work. Personal obligations are often priorities in the workplace, so when employees feel that importance is taken seriously, they feel like their work understands their needs.
Workplace flexibility is not as easy as allowing employees to work from home once a week. As more and more people start to prioritise flexible arrangements, companies must begin to implement these into their company culture. This is why, at A1 Office, we use employee engagement and experience in our design process for workplaces to maximise their employee satisfaction. Get in contact to find out more about how we can help your workplace improve employee satisfaction.