In a recent video discussion (that you can view below) I talked about flexible working within an organisation and why that’s important to today’s workforce.
Much is now said about the need for flexibility at work and how this benefits the employer by keeping employees engaged. Why is this the case today? And, why wasn’t this such a popular view ten or twenty years ago? What has changed?
Along with many of my fellow HR practitioners, we’ve all come to realise that changes in the workforce are something that we cannot ignore. Thus, it is very important that HR practices and management stay on top of trends and staff expectations, and evolve with time.
This discussion has been going on for decades. The traits that each generation introduces to the organisation will eventually alter the DNA of that organisation, which in time drives evolution. Today, a lot more focus has been placed on work-life integration by the younger generation, where employees strive to balance professional work with their personal life.
Global connectivity resulting in round the clock working and increased workforce mobility
As companies are becoming more and more global, “official work hours” are fast becoming irrelevant. Employees are finding that they need to work across different regions and time zones, which sometimes results in the need to attend meetings during out of office hours. Compensating employees for these extra hours at work is a complicated process. Tracking an employee’s time at work is not only inefficient, but also signals a sign of distrust.
Medical advancement leading to longer life expectancy
Whilst this is a good thing, many countries are seeing increased challenges to provide adequate infrastructure for the aged. Thus, the ability for employees to plan their work flexibly, to provide necessary care support to loved ones, is vital. Flexible working arrangements allow employees to balance their work life, whilst keeping their productivity levels and engagement with their employer high.
Availability of technology
Technology has played a big part in making flexibility at work possible. For example, companies these days are able to deploy high quality and cost effective video conferencing solutions that help defy distance and bring teams closer together. Employees these days can also jump onto a HD video conference meeting right from their laptop, or even through their tablet or smartphone devices, using RealPresence Desktop or RealPresence Mobile. This makes joining a meeting from anywhere away from the office a breeze.
Thus, “flexibility” is here to stay, and it is definitely part of the changing workforce. Learning how to leverage technology, adapt and manage a flexible workforce could be the key to bringing out the most in your employees.
As always, do feel free to comment or drop me a note if you have any interesting tips of your own to share.
If you'd like to know more about the best tools to help you enable flexibility in your workforce you can start at this page to find out more about Polycom’s RealPresence Desktop and RealPresence Mobile solutions.
Eric Wong left Polycom as of March 2015. This blog post is his personal view and reflective of his thoughts while at Polycom.