The pandemic has left some positive elements such as work flexibility. Hybrid work models are here to stay. A recent World Bank publication says that offering fair and flexible work to remote workers is a business imperative and will help organizations recruit and retain talent.
The passage of the coronavirus has left gaps in positive consequences. Undoubtedly, the flexibility of the working model is one of them. If you work in an office, chances are your work will be more flexible than it was before the pandemic. Maybe you work from home a few days a week. Or maybe you’ve changed your schedule to better fit your family commitments or lifestyle.
Family reconciliation is the ability to balance one’s work and personal obligations to have a satisfying and productive personal life. In this effort, flexibility is the main ally of any company. Some measures to achieve family reconciliation may include:
Work time flexibility: Allow employees to adjust their work schedule to accommodate family needs, such as childcare or sick relatives.
Telecommuting: Allows employees to work from home to avoid the time and cost of travel and spend more time with family.
Parental Leave: Offer parental leave to allow parents to care for their children for some time without fear of losing their jobs.
Family Sick Leave: Offer employees paid time off to care for sick family members without affecting their wages or working hours.
Flexible working hours: Allow employees to work outside normal hours, so they can take care of their families during the day.
The problem is that not all types of work allow flexibility in hours. The Randstad Q2 2023 Workmonitor Pulse survey reveals that people in blue-collar (manual work such as construction or factory floors) and gray-collar (such as engineering, emergency services, teaching, and health) occupations also require flexibility. The data, based on the opinions of more than 7,500 workers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany, shows that almost half of the workers in these two categories consider flexibility as important or more important than salary.
But despite that, only a fifth of those employees have experienced greater flexibility since the pandemic. This is in contrast to more than half of white-collar workers who now enjoy a greater degree of flexibility in their roles.
The World Bank publication explains that certainly, some functions are easier to perform at home than others. And jobs in industries like agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and mining, or people-oriented roles like nursing or teaching, are among the least easy to do remotely, often requiring on-site presence. But experts make it clear that flexible working is more than just working from home: it also includes being open to adjustments in work schedules and working hours. In these areas in particular, out-of-office workers feel that employers can and should be more flexible. This can mean, for example, working four days or part-time weeks, or split shifts. It may also involve looking at functions to divide activities between those that need to be done on-site during “normal” business hours and those that can be done off-site at other times.
The world is changing and with it the world of work. In this scenario, it is observed that the perception that flexible working is not compatible with non-office functions is changing. Currently, three out of five non-managerial employees believe that their work could be more flexible.
The bottom line is that whether you work in an office chair or a taxi seat, the reasons for wanting more flexibility are the same: a better work-life balance, more time to spend with friends and family, more time for rest, and more time. to lead a healthier lifestyle. The flexibility allows more mothers to return to work, caregivers to juggle work responsibilities, and employees to manage health issues.
The importance of worker flexibility lies in the fact that it allows workers to better adapt to their personal life needs, which can improve their well-being and quality of life. In addition, it can also be beneficial for employers, as it can improve employee productivity and retention, and also reduce operating costs. In addition, flexible working can also be a useful tool to address specific problems in the workplace, such as work overload or understaffing. By enabling employees to work more effectively and efficiently, flexible working can help companies achieve their goals and increase profitability.
Conversely, if a company is not willing to offer the flexibility workers are looking for, they will take action, and many people will quit their jobs or even change careers. With no space to deal with personal responsibilities, many out-of-office workers also took days off to solve problems.
Thus, the publication makes it clear: offering fair and flexible work is not an optional extra, but an imperative for companies to be successful, fair, and diverse. And in the context of increasing demand for non-management positions, it’s also an important recruitment and retention tool.