Over the past few years, companies have been working harder and more creatively than ever to reduce costs while striving to improve productivity and retain their best employees. Many studies by organizations such as the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) have pointed to workplace flexibility as a highly effective and vital business strategy in today’s economy. “For thousands of organizations, workflex contributes millions of dollars in bottom-line gains,” says SHRM researchers.
But what does this mean to your small business?
Workplace flexibility is a way to rethink how, when and where people do their best work – while also increasing productivity and business continuity.
In a recent article for The Atlantic, Cali Yost talks about how she worked with BDO USA, a professional services firm with 40 offices and 2,500 employees across the U.S. to create and implement a flex strategy. Yost noted how it’s become quite clear that, “the same work flexibility (e.g. telecommuting, flexible hours, job flexibility, etc.) used to retain [employees] also helped the company…
Stay open in bad weather
Extend administrative coverage for the professional staff by flexibly coordinating schedules without increasing overtime
Staff projects more effectively and with lower burnout
Reduce the amount of office space
Seed satellite offices in new markets with low overhead
As a small business, how could implementing flexibility help you run a leaner, smoother machine? Consider these ideas…
Reinforce business continuity: Employees who can work remotely can continue to contribute — whether it’s due to inclement weather, a sick child at home, or horrible traffic due to a major event in town.
Use flexibility as currency: The results of a July 2011 survey by Harris Interactive (and commissioned by Mom Corps) show that 42% of working adults are willing to give up some percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work.
Lower real estate costs: With telecommuting options, creative scheduling, and flex hours — companies can reduce real estate costs through reduced occupancy rates / space requirements. This can even enable some business owners to sub-let part of their space to other businesses.
Retain employees while lowering energy costs: Many businesses have introduced “flex Fridays”, which translate to happier employees (read: employee retention) AND lower utility costs.
Lower employee health costs and reduce sick days: The SHRM found that flexible workers sleep better, exercise more, have lower stress and are in better health. (Fewer sick days = more productivity!
In what other ways could your small business benefit from flexible work options?