What are flexible work arrangements all about? How can you best utilize these arrangements? Here’s what to know.
Flexible work arrangements are an important element of an ever more digital world. As we move towards online metaverses, post-pandemic remote work schedules, and record shattering outsourcing numbers, we come face to face with the fact that working out of the same office as the rest of the company isn’t feasible for a significant portion of the workforce, just as another portion calls for more flexibility and the option to work from anywhere.
What does this mean for businesses? It means looking into flexible work arrangements – and finding out just how much they can do for you.
What Are Flexible Work Arrangements?
A flexible work arrangement is not a spell of doom. It isn’t the key to success, either. It’s an important element of creating a modern workspace that incorporates talent from all across the globe, however, while still providing unique perks for potential employees scouted right at home.
For employees, flexible work arrangements allow them to organize their working hours however they need them, seeing to it that they can get to their tasks during their most productive time slots, while getting a chance to live their lives and carve out some personal time wherever it might be necessary.
For businesses, a flexible work arrangement can mean lower costs, a happier team, a more positive and inclusive working culture, and more productive workers.
Of course, not all flexible work arrangements will be equally rewarding for your business model. Identifying the right one will help you make the most of how our workspace landscape is changing and evolving.
Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
As single-income households become less common, workers are more concerned than ever with a work-life balance that allows them to spend time with their family and be involved in the lives of their children without risking bankruptcy, or an empty retirement.
Even with family out of the picture, younger workers are finding themselves burning out faster than before, facing greater stressors and fewer ways to cope with them.
A flexible work arrangement is one of the major ways in which companies can try to create a more lucrative work-life balance for their workers while creating a working environment and culture that workers might value far more than even additional pay.
There are many ways to achieve this. Most flexible work arrangements have two major variables to play with: when and where. When will working hours take place? Where will an employee work? Let’s see how different flexible work arrangements answer this question.
Hybrid work is one of the most common forms of flexible work arrangements, where a company offers employees the choice between working from headquarters and working from anywhere else – from a coffee shop to a coworking space, or the comfort of their own living room.
Hybrid work models began as a way for businesses to deal with overflow, but it has turned into a seriously competitive work model, even for larger enterprises.
Where hybrid work is a symmetric or asymmetric split between office hours and working from anywhere, a fully remote team is one that exists almost purely through the Internet, collaborating physically through one-on-one or three-person meetups, or the occasional full team get-together.
The benefit of a fully remote system is that it can function from anywhere. All work is saved on a cloud and backed up securely, and the office is anywhere with a good Internet connection. The downside is the lack of a proper address, although virtual offices can solve this issue a lot of the time.
A condensed or shorter workweek is another flexible work compromise that might seem to go against a company’s favor but provides the benefit of making sure employees are well rested and up for the tasks ahead of them.
Many countries are already experimenting with the idea of the shorter workweek as a standard practice on a national level, with the overarching point being that by investing more in the wellbeing of a company’s employees, the company (and in turn, the economy) will thrive.
Coworking spaces are large office workspaces shared by multiple parties across different time slots, working independently, while sometimes encouraging collaboration. Space allocation and scheduling are both very important in coworking spaces, and they offer more than just an empty office.
Coworking spaces are often fully furnished with top-of-the-line amenities, from the bare essentials like high speed internet to manned coffee and snack bars, and fully-outfitted private meeting rooms.
How Coworking Brings the Best of Both Worlds
Coworking spaces allow you to benefit from the boons of a fully furnished office while running a remote business. The cost of membership at a coworking space is often the fraction of the investment and commitment needed to lease a space of your own, giving you the opportunity to join multiple spaces and expand your team across multiple cities, while giving each team the workspace they deserve through high quality amenities.
Choosing the Right Coworking Space for You
Coworking spaces aren’t a dime a dozen, but if you’re based in a major city, chances are you have more than one to choose from. Choosing the right one for your business is first and foremost about establishing a list of priorities, especially with regards to amenities, location, and functionality.
Once those are fulfilled, the candidates on your shortlist can be sorted by design, management style, event frequency, or even who the other tenants are. Coworking spaces are a natural opportunity for networking between professionals.
Take your time to explore the spaces available to you, comparing prices and offerings, as well as design choices and “vibes.” A coworking space can have an impact on your company culture, even through mundane choices like how the common area is structured.
The right flexible work arrangement can be a massive boon to your employees and your business alike. For example: for new parents faced with the complicated and unknown challenges of caretaking, a flexible work arrangement could give them the chance to better balance their family and professional obligations.
The above example is just one of many on how meeting your employees halfway can help foster a stronger relationship between workers and companies, create a happier and more productive workforce, and leverage new technologies and opportunities to enable unfettered growth in your business, even in spite of lockdowns and tightening restrictions.