Flexibility in the workplace has become something of a rallying cry. Workers got a taste of workplace flexibility when the pandemic disrupted the normal business environment, and many found it to be immensely more preferable than the previous status quo. As we move into the future, those workers aren’t passively going back to their desks.
Employers and workers seem to be in agreement, at least according to a survey conducted by Future Forum entitled “The Future of Work Is Flexible, Inclusive and Connected.” They found that the percentage of global hybrid workers has increased from 46 percent in May of 2021 to 58 percent.
The survey, which polled 10,000 knowledge workers in the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, also found that “72 percent of those dissatisfied with their current level of flexibility at work said that they are likely to look for a job in the next year.” How will organizations attract and retain workers as this trend continues?
What Is Workplace Flexibility?
Workplace flexibility refers to a flexible workplace in which workers are able to go into the office, stay at home or enjoy a hybrid of the two. Not all types of work are able to take advantage of workplace flexibility, of course. Hospitals need doctors and nurses on site. But even in healthcare, telemedicine has been making inroads.
Flexible work arrangements are also a response to the growing desire among employees to have a work-life balance. In the past, flexibility was in the hands of the employer but it has increasingly been giving power to employees. However, it truly can be to the benefit of both parties.
Why Is Workplace Flexibility So Important?
A study by the American Sociological Review looked at two groups of IT workers. One group had flexibility in their workplace, and the other was regulated to the typical nine-to-five office hours. Those who had workplace flexibility were happier and met their goals more reliably than the control group.
Happier employees lead to greater productivity. As we move away from safety precautions that advised against in-person gathering, employers are finding that their employees are demanding more flexible hours, if not outright remote work. The industry is responding to what has been called the Great Resignation as many workers leave their jobs as they pursue a better work-life balance. Businesses have attracted workers with increased salaries and have increasingly become open to a more hybrid work environment.
There are gains for employers, too, of course. Not only are happy people more productive, but businesses also have a wider pool of talent to choose from. But many organizations worry that they won’t see this increase in productivity. They remain skeptical that distributed teams are going to perform as well as those who are physically in an office.
Work management solutions make a flexible workplace possible. ProjectManager is a cloud-based work and project management software that connects hybrid teams and allows them to work more productively. Managers are able to oversee their progress and performance with a real-time dashboard that monitors time, cost, variance and more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free!
Benefits of a Flexible Workplace
We’re in a tight job market, and employers are searching for ways to attract talent. While being able to look beyond the normal commutable radius of the office means more talent to choose from, once you hire that talented employee, how do you keep them?
According to a FlexJob report cited on the Better Workplaces Better World (SHRM) website, 52 percent of respondents tried to negotiate a flexible work arrangement. More interesting, 25 percent said they’d be willing to take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut in exchange for a flexible workplace.
Eighty percent said that having a flexible work arrangement would make them more loyal to their employers. That means, businesses are not only getting more productive workers, but they’re more likely to retain them as well.
How Can Software Serve a Flexible Work Environment?
A flexible workplace couldn’t exist without advances in software. Before the internet made connectivity possible, people still would work at home. But most of these people were freelancers, and even then, only a few professions were able to accommodate this type of work. Technology has since made it possible for many types of teams to work wherever they want and even whenever they want.
The advent of work management software has made it possible for flexible workplaces to exist and even thrive. That’s because software offers flexible tools that foster collaboration, boost productivity and track work to make sure that everything is being done as planned—on time and within budget.
Tools of a Flexible Workplace
Most jobs require some level of skill and support. A flexible workplace is no different. You need software tools that can connect teams no matter where they are, what they do or how they do it.
Without cloud-based software that can connect teams in real time, there is no workplace flexibility. Therefore, at the bare minimum, any tool you’re looking for must have this capability.
Having an online tool is only the start. It needs to connect teams, but it also has to facilitate the collaborative process. That means there must be some sort of chat and file sharing functionality. You’ll also want to have some way to alert team members that their work has been updated or they’ve been mentioned in a comment.
Being online is obvious, but a mobile application is also a make-or-break for a flexible workplace. It’s surprising how many work management software solutions are not available on your phone. Teams that work on-site or travel, or just need access to their work on-the-go, often require a mobile app.
We’ve been talking a lot about connectivity, but that’s just the start of what makes a flexible workplace workable. Managers and teams need a way to plan out their tasks, assign work, assign priority and describe what must be done.
Monitoring and Controlling
Managers need to be able to keep an eye on their workers. This isn’t some draconian Big Brother squeezing the last drop of productivity from their exhausted teams. It’s being able to see what tasks are on track, which are behind, where the money is going and any other metric necessary to stay on schedule and within your budget.
It’s difficult managing resources, and that task is exponentially harder when your team is scattered throughout different locations. What you need is a software feature that tracks workload. If your teams have too many assignments, work slows. But if they have too few, then you’re not as productive as you might be. That’s why you need a tool that can monitor and balance workload.
ProjectManager Is Flexible Workplace Software
Is there one software solution that provides all the above benefits and is both easy to use and competitively priced? Yes, there is, and it’s called ProjectManager. ProjectManager’s cloud-based software connects hybrid teams no matter where they are, how they work or what their skill level may be. It’s also collaborative at its core.
Multiple Work Views for Flexibility
Not everyone on the team works the same. Some prefer traditional ways of planning ahead on a Gantt chart, while others will want a tool that supports agile and iterative methods, such as the visual workflow of a kanban. We have both those project views, but also a sheet view, which is like the Gantt without the timeline, task lists and calendar views. A flexible workplace should have flexible tools.
Maintain a Single Source of Truth
Because ProjectManager is online, you get real-time data. That means that all the project views are updated at the same time. There’s only one source of truth, and everyone is on the same page whether at home, in the office or out in the field. Comments can be added to tasks, documents attached and shared and you can even tag someone, not in the project to bring them into the conversation. Plus, you stay connected by email notifications and in-app alerts.
Track Team’s Progress in Real-Time
Managers get transparency into their team’s workload with resource management features, such as the workload chart. It’s color-coded so you can see at a glance who is overallocated and reallocated their tasks to balance the workload and keep your team productive. There are also filterable reports to get even more data, timesheets that show progress on tasks and much more.
The flexible workplace is a reality and our software delivers on its promise with a mobile app, scheduling and planning tools, budgeting features and so much more. You can even automate workflows and set task approvals to add efficiency to your process. You can have happier and more productive workers with ProjectManager.
ProjectManager is award-winning work and project management software that connects hybrid teams to help them collaborate and work more productively. No matter if your team is in the office, working from home or both, our tool lets you plan, monitor and report on their progress and performance. Get started for free today!