Even though we all want to pretend that the pandemic didn’t happen so that we can get back to being our old selves, that’s not possible.
The world of work has changed. More specifically, employees and job seekers today are seeking companies and jobs that offer flexible hours of work and on their own terms.
Having worked from home over the past couple of years (or months for some), the 9-to-5 concept has inevitably become a thing of the past in people’s minds.
With a limited number of skilled and qualified talent, a hybrid work culture is critical in the battle for top talent and could be your winning formula to becoming an attractive employer to work for.
how flexible working can make you an attractive employer
Today, we can recognise that the future of work involves a dynamic flexible work arrangement and that flexible work is an essential factor for talent attraction.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only a handful of companies implemented hybrid work models and offered flexible work schedules while the rest of us watched in envy. Now that we know it is possible to work from home, everyone wants to have the option to do so!
common benefits of flexible working to employees
A flexible work arrangement is very attractive to employees, as they get the full autonomy to choose where and when they want to work. Employees are more productive since they are working in quieter environments with fewer distractions.
They can also have a better work-life balance because with flexible scheduling, they have more control over how they want to spend their time. For example, working parents may want to start their day earlier so that they can spend time with their kids at night. They may also want to work from home instead of braving bad weather to get to the office on time.
Flexible hours of work can also help improve your employees’ work-life balance. According to the latest Randstad Hong Kong 2022 Employer Brand Research, 29% of respondents worked flexible hours to improve their work-life balance.
Workers who take advantage of flexible working opportunities tend to be happier, more productive and have higher employee morale, which makes them less likely to search for another employer to work for.
We already know that job seekers and employees want better workplace flexibility in terms of working hours.
In a recent workmonitor survey, 35% of respondents in Hong Kong SAR said that they wouldn't accept a job if it didn’t provide flexible working options. Furthermore, 29% of Hongkongers said that they have quit a job before because it didn’t provide them enough flexibility.
As a business leader, why wait for your employees to ask for flexible work, when you can proactively implement it instead?
Forward-thinking employers have been quick to recognise the impact of flexible work on talent attraction and retention. When you offer highly desirable HR initiatives, more people would want to have the opportunity to work for you.
why is work flexibility important in your recruitment strategy?
Here are the advantages of flexible work arrangement to businesses:
- Boost company culture and achieve a strong employer brand
- Grow talent pool to include qualified candidates who value work flexibility, especially working parents and millennials
- New job creation for contracting and part-time workers
- Improve employee retention rates
- Gain operations efficiency
- Reduce overhead costs
how can your company shift towards flexible working hours?
Creating a flexible work policy from the start would establish clear guidelines on how a business and team members should work, collaborate and communicate.
Giving your employees freedom to choose when and where they want to work can be frightening for some people.
Here’s a scenario that some of you may be familiar with:
At 11am, you send a text to your colleague asking for a report you’re preparing for a meeting later in the afternoon. However, you found out that they are out having an early lunch. You start to get frustrated at them considering it’s not lunch time yet and they should be working. However, your colleague decided to go for an early lunch that day because she started work at 7am.
Incidents like this can be very frustrating and annoying to deal with, even to the best of us. All of us have different work priorities. While having a copy of the report is important to you at that time, it may not be the case for your colleague.
Even though everyone already knows how to work remotely or from home, the factors are different this time.
During lockdowns, everyone is stuck at home with nowhere to go to. So your assumption that your colleague is at home and can answer your messages in a timely manner is correct.
However, we are no longer in lockdown. So your same assumption is no longer accurate. Your colleague could be out getting an early lunch, picking their kids up from school or is working from a cafe.
With these different factors in mind, we’ll need to change our mindset and improve technical support to create a highly productive remote workforce.
1. invest in technology
The success of flexible work and work from home rely on technologies, communications platforms and project management systems.
To implement a hybrid or remote work culture, your employees must have the following:
- A laptop (with VPN for better network security)
- Software programs such as video conferencing, shared drives/folders, chats and calendars
If your colleague is able to access their files and text you from their phone, they could easily send you the report from wherever they are.
Other optional software that you may want to introduce to your workforce may include:
- Digital timesheets or time management
- Project management
Employers can also implement digital timesheets software for their employees to make sure that workers clocked their minimum hours stated in the employment contract. These timesheets can also help managers understand if the employee is spending too much time on a project or task so that they know when to step in to provide support and help.
Some organisations also use project management software like JIRA and monday.com to manage their employees’ workload. Managers can find out if someone is working on too many projects at the same time so that they can effectively delegate tasks more fairly or choose to make an additional hire.
When employees are constantly overloaded with work, it's only a matter of time before they leave for another career opportunity that offers them a better work-life balance.
Investing in the right technology can help create a better experience for your employees who are working outside of the office, and can also streamline workload management.
2. invest in communication training
Investing in skills and development for your employees should always be your business strategy and priority. A skilled workforce is more agile and productive, which would make it easier for you to create a highly-efficient hybrid work culture.
One of the key skills to ensure a productive remote workforce is communication. When everyone is working remotely, they can only connect with one another through emails, text messages and video conferences. Employees need to learn how to communicate proactively as well as be able to write clear and concise emails to prevent misunderstandings.
For example, the colleague who has gone out for an early lunch can drop a note on the group chat to let the team know that they will be stepping away, how to reach them for urgent matters and when they’ll be back for work. So instead of the manager frantically trying to find out where their staff is, they would already have all the information they need.
Managers must also know how to give clear briefs and feedback to improve the work quality of the team while working remotely. This can reduce the number of changes made to the same document, which saves time for everyone.
It may take your workforce a while to get used to the idea that some of their colleagues will be at the gym or picking up their kids from school during working hours. However, it’s important to remind them that nobody is at fault here!
As long as they have completed their assignments on time to the quality that is expected of them and are always helping their colleagues during work, then it really doesn’t matter whether they are in the office or online all the time.
increase your talent attractiveness by offering flexible work hours
You need to be in an ace position to stay competitive in a candidate-short market to attract the best talent to work for you!
However you choose to structure it for your business, giving employees greater flexibility around their schedules, allowing people to better manage their own work-life balance, and combating the need for overtime through better planning can all help to position you as an extremely attractive prospect in a competitive market.
If flexible work is not suitable for your industry or organisation, there are other ways you can foster an attractive workplace culture and improve your employee’s work-life balance to strengthen your talent attraction and employee retention strategies.
Visit our employer branding hub for the latest insights on talent expectations or connect with our specialists to find out what else you can be doing to attract more talent to work for you. Alternatively, if you are looking for career advancements or seeking a better career journey, check out our latest job listings to ramp up your professional growth.