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5 ways to offer greater flexibility for your company’s employees

remote workA large part of the challenge of running a successful business is knowing the ins and outs of successful workforce management. Your employees are your greatest asset with any organization, but it’s up to you to use them effectively. That means helping them manage their time, thrive in their work environment and reach their highest possible levels of productivity. This is easier said than done.

These days, workforce management is only becoming even more challenging, largely because people have greater demands when it comes to flexibility. They’re no longer content simply to work the 9-to-5 daily grind – instead, they want to push the limits and change the way they do their jobs. They want different hours, locales and so on.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, offering these sorts of perks has become an imperative for employers. Christine Walters, a workplace attorney and independent HR consultant in Maryland, pointed to landmark research on this topic from the Council of Economic Advisers report, “Economics of Workplace Flexibility,” which showed that 79 percent of employees view office culture as important and 55 percent desire more flexibility to balance work with life.

She also had one more key observation.

“Only 26 percent said they were satisfied with their flexibility options,” Walters said. “As consumers, we seek flexibility in all retail services and other services. [Flexibility] is good for us as consumers. That’s why we think it’s important for our employees.”

Walters poses a very important point, but it’s one that managers still aren’t sure how to address. What can we do to improve the situation and make work more flexible for today’s employees? It remains unclear. The following, though, are five suggestions that might help companies figure it out.

Allow more flexible hours
One thing employees are clamoring for is the ability to exert more control over their own hours. So why not allow it? Give people the leeway to tweak the usual 9-to-5 schedule to their own liking, and they’ll certainly appreciate it.

Be accommodating with paid and unpaid leave
Employees are prone to requesting leave from work, on either a paid or unpaid basis, from time to time. It’s important to be accommodating, listen to their requests and try to do right by them.

Remain open to telecommuting
Thanks to modern technology, it’s not always necessary for employees to show up to the office in person anymore – they can work from home, the road or anywhere else. Companies should be open-minded about this possibility.

Enable more collaborative technologies
There are many recent innovations that make it easier for people to work in flexible ways. Among them are email, text, cloud computing, mobile apps and more. It’s time to get on board with all of them, which will help people work in whatever way they’re comfortable.

Let employees live their lives
Life frequently throws us curveballs, whether it’s a medical condition, family situation or anything else that might make it more difficult to keep up with work. Whatever happens to your employees, be respectful of their work-life balance and try to make things work.

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