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As Employees Seek Greater Flexibility from Employers, Employers Can Request the Same of Their Workers

  • Flexibility became a more valued workplace culture benefit as remote work arrangements proliferated during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Businesses can take steps to allow flexible arrangements, but might also seek flexibility from employees in return
  • Companies should set clear expectations of when employees must be available and what outcomes must be met

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Flexibility has become an important consideration for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees working remotely have been enjoying greater autonomy over how, when, and where they complete their tasks, and many want to see this flexibility continue as part of their company’s workplace culture.

Robert Glazer, founder of the marketing agency Acceleration Partners, recently wrote for about how businesses can help accommodate this demand for greater flexibility. However, he also says businesses should treat the arrangement as a two-way street, with the expectation that employees will need to be flexible about company needs as well.

  • One challenge is that employees want more autonomy in setting their own schedules, which might include working irregular hours outside the typical 9-5 workday, but also want a firmer work-life balance where they do not need to be available outside of their  working hours
  • By communicating with employees, managers can better understand when each employee plans to work and when they won’t be available
  • Employers should set firm expectations on times when workers must be on the clock; they can also outline when an employee needs to inform an employer that they will be taking time off
  • Companies should have a way to measure outcomes to ensure that employees’ work is meeting expectations, with the possibility of reassessing flexible work arrangements if goals are not being met
  • Employers might say that employees should anticipate that they will sometimes be asked to be flexible with their schedules as well, such as working late or during a weekend

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