Flexibility in the Workplace – A Key to Optimizing Results
Many employers misinterpret workplace flexibility as an employee reward. They believe the amount of personal responsibility you are given, where you work within the office, or the hours you work to be compensation for your quality of service. However, research suggests that flexibility is actually a strategic benefit that guarantees quality of service. Improved working conditions drive employee engagement, decrease turnover rate, and prevent absenteeism. In Make More Money By Making Your Employees Happy Dr. Noelle Nelson correlates employee happiness with a higher return on assets. Defined as the “profitability of a certain company relative to its total assets” by Investopedia, return on assets measures the impact of human capital, otherwise known as the company workforce. Employers should never overlook their talent. Consider a study by the Jackson Organization that found correlations between effective appreciation of employee values and a dramatic increase in the return on equity and assets.
As we wrote in the Wellness: Good for Employees, Good for Business blog, talent that is both physically and mentally healthy demonstrates superior work ethic and is less likely to become distracted by other concerns or frustrations, allowing them to pursue company goals. It is essential to establish proper conditions such as autonomy, clear goals, and a comfortable workspace, to achieve the best results.
Workplace flexibility strategies could include a range of different time schedules, the option to telework, or a combination of the two. This flexibility allows employees the opportunity to manage their outside responsibilities – from caring for a sick child to making a difficult-to-schedule appointment – without compromising the time they spend towards work-related tasks, ultimately relieving stress and improving work ethic. The residual effect on employee engagement is found to decrease turnover rate and improve employee well-being. These factors were found to foster a 300% higher return on equity and assets than those of firms that don’t employ flexibility strategies.
Dr. Nelson additionally suggests several methods to boost employee happiness. “Regular, frequent, and targeted feedback” that goes beyond the cliché “good job” yields higher success rates among employees and is often regarded as more genuine. Tools to help employees succeed show that the employer recognizes the shortcomings of simple on-boarding training and is dedicated to developing the best talent. “Online seminars, mentoring programs, audio conferences, live seminars, outside courses paid for by the company, workshops, whatever the means, training and education are important to today’s workers.”
Bringing out the best in the workforce does not mean that talent should then be expected to bear overwhelming workloads either. Increased engagement should be rewarded, not punished. Piling an unachievable amount of work onto a talented employee’s desk only decreases their likelihood of success, compromises their interest, and increases stress levels.
Peace of mind and workplace flexibility go hand-in-hand. With higher morale and more control of their lives and work, employees feel valued; therefore, their productivity increases and the return on assets grows. Demonstrating appreciation and trust assures that employees will continue to give their best efforts both in the office and off the clock. Being valued helps employees maintain their interest and dedication to their jobs.
A company should not provide a high-quality work environment as a reward for great work. Rather, a high-quality workplace cultivates the best efforts from a company’s talent. With additional recognition and rewards programs in place to reinforce dedication and work ethic, companies can expect a significant return on assets.