If you are a Yoga participant or a gymnast, flexibility is a requirement. It is an important part of the daily process and is a process that has been learned. Not only has it been learned, it has been perfected over the course of a Yoga or gymnast class.
In business and human resources, flexibility is not a requirement but it can be an important part of the daily business process. And, just like with the Yoga or gymnast, flexibility in an organization can be learned. But, in order to learn to be flexible you need to understand what being flexible means.
With the emergence of the younger work force, the Gen X and Gen Y and all the other generational mixes, understanding flexibility becomes even more important to the business and the management team.
- Technology Flexibility – provides the employee with the opportunity to telecommute. Since we are a global society, can your organization allow the flexibility of an employee working from a satellite location If so, what are the liabilities How do you manage the individual Do you care if they work early in the morning or late at night If you provide this type of flexibility, you must clearly state your expectations and set up the parameters before you begin. ABC News recently published an article on working from home.
- Alternate Work Scheduling – can you create a program to work with your employees to adjust their work schedules to meet the needs of child-care or elder-care. Staggering the workday can allow employees the opportunity to complete their work schedule and still be able to provide needed care for those at home.
- Compressed Workweek – even various states are looking at compressed workweeks for public employees. Can you have your workforce work 10 hours a day for four days and be off three What happens during the three days off Who is minding the shop Or, is it necessary
- Job Sharing – can be accomplished with care and good communication. Are there jobs that can tend to be tedious, where burn-out can occur that could be shared by two individuals One individual wants to work 4.5 hours in the morning and one wants 4.5 hours in the afternoon (with a half hour of overlap to go over what is going on in the job). This can be very effective for an organization if done correctly.
Flexibility in the workplace can accomplish a feeling of satisfaction for the employee who might feel better about their job. This in turn can lead to higher retention rates for the organization.
So, think about flexibility as a “life-style” for your company – not just for the employees.