During the pandemic, the “life” part of work-life balance has suddenly come under a bit focus. And it’s no wonder why: with all the rapid change and uncertainty, work simply needed to be more flexible to accommodate all the stuff of life—whether it was helping family members, supporting kids during virtual schooling, or just trying to find time for ourselves to de-stress.
Now, even with the worst of things behind us, many employees and their employers are sticking to these more flexible work arrangements, having found that they offer a wide range of benefits—not least of which is an improved work-life balance.
However, achieving this improved flexibility and work-life balance for employees—while still maintaining a productive work environment—doesn’t just come with a snap of the fingers. There are steps that employers and employees can take to help ensure that the new normal only helps take their business to new heights.
Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
Employers offering a new future of flexible work are typically mixing and matching aspects of two types of flexibility: location and scheduling.
Options for location flexibility might include giving employees the chance to telecommute or work fully remotely, from wherever they wish. Alternatively, employers may adopt a hybrid work model, where workers can split their time between remote and in-office work.
There are also a range of possibilities for those looking to offer scheduling flexibility. Potential models include:
- Compressed workweek: Employees still work full-time hours but over fewer days. Four-day workweeks are increasingly popular and have been shown in some studies to improve productivity and lower stress while providing better work-life balance.
- Flextime: Workers can choose when their workdays begin and end each day. This option become especially popular for accommodating the needs of working parents and students.
- Shift work: Particularly useful for businesses that operate 24/7, shift work divides work among employees according to set shift times. Employees’ shifts may vary over the course of a week—and from week to week—according to their needs.
How to Make the Most of a Flexible Work Arrangement
Though the exact arrangement will vary from place to place, the benefits of flexibility for work-life balance are plain to see for all. By enabling and empowering workers to adapt their work schedule to their lives—rather than the other way around—you make it easier for them to bring their best selves to their time on the job.
Of course, in addition to scheduling, using flexibility to maximize work-life balance still requires some fine-tuning. Put these tips to work to make the most of your new way to work.
Adequately Equip Your Employees
Increasing flexibility and remote work means your workers will be ever more reliant on technology to stay connected with their teams. While this means that employers should invest in the right software to support synchronous and asynchronous communication, it also means they need to give their employees the right equipment. Equipping employees with improved, more reliable laptops can not only protect productivity, but it can also attract and retain talent looking to utilize the latest technology. Meanwhile, stipends or reimbursement schemes can help employees build the home office setup that helps them work best. With these stipends, employees can purchase workstations like the Mount-It! Rolling Sit-Stand Computer Workstation.
“This desk really changed my life. I can roll it around, indoors and out, raise it up and down so I can sit or stand. Plus it rolls away into the laundry room when I don’t want to look at it. It’s sturdier than I expected and is fairly easy to assemble.” – Eric P
Don’t Skimp on Outfitting (and Adapting) Your Office
Even if employees are taking advantage of a WFH option, employers should still ensure that their office is a place for employees want to work. After all, location preferences will vary from person to person—and many will still look to a comfortable, accommodating office as their workspace of choice.
For many, adapting to the new way of work means substituting a variety of hoteling-friendly tables for individual, dedicated office desks. But that doesn’t mean privacy shouldn’t be remain a priority in the open office. Create spaces that are ideal for quiet work as well as group meetings and socializing with the right partitions and dividers. Plus, don’t forget to design a modern break room with all the essentials, including cold beverages, healthy snacks, and k-cups like Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend Coffee.
Received coffee in a timely manner. Pods were exactly what I wanted and needed. Delicious coffee. I like the price, flavor and how quickly I received this product.” – Lyssa R.
Communication Is Key
Maximizing both productivity and work-life balance in a flexible working model goes well beyond office equipment and furniture, of course. As ever, communication will be critical to providing employees with an experience that keeps morale and engagement high. Consider incorporating times for teams of coworkers to overlap inside the office and hold important one-on-one meetings and group collaborations.
Plus, In addition to providing them with the equipment and spaces they need to enjoy work, encourage regular conversations and openness about setting the boundaries they require between work and life.
With the right tools and a healthy dose of transparency, workers can feel at their best during work—and make the most of the lives they lead outside of work, too.