While employees’ expectations of an ideal work environment may vary based on their values and life stages, work-life effectiveness is typically a universal concern. WorldatWork (a non-profit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on total rewards) defines work-life effectiveness as a specific set of policies and practices backed by a philosophy that actively supports efforts to help employees achieve success personally and professionally.
When employees thrive at home and work, it’s beneficial for them and their employers. For employees, work-life effectiveness can enhance psychological and physical well-being. For employers, better job performance, increased employee engagement, higher job satisfaction and decreased turnover are all linked to personal and professional success among employees. It’s a win-win!
There are many things employers can do to create an ideal work environment. However, one of the best ways to enhance work-life effectiveness is to establish workplace flexibility. A flexible work environment lets employees manage their time and schedules around their varying needs and priorities. It does not require employees to have a set day to work from home or core hours they need to be in the office. Rather, employees are held accountable for managing their time as needed. In addition to varying work hours, work locations may also change throughout the day or week depending on what needs to be accomplished.
Managers may be hesitant to provide a flexible work environment because it can be unnerving to see empty desks around the office. If you feel this way, perhaps you should take a step back and ask yourself, “What is more important – face time or results?” Consider the type of work culture currently in place and if that is what you want moving forward. Will it help you attract and retain the best and brightest? Will it further your company goals and objectives?
A flexible work environment requires trust and proven performance. Some organizations offer workplace flexibility to employees after an introductory period. During this time, expectations are set and employees are held accountable for meeting or exceeding them. A results-based work environment can be very attractive to high performers who prefer to self-manage. An added benefit of a flexible work environment is that it can also allow employees to work during their peak productivity times.