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Lessons from Leading Remote: Flexibility

remote work May 11, 2022

While talking with leaders about recent hiring initiatives, I was surprised at the contrast in the number of applicants arising out of their recruitment strategies. Organizations with co-located job requirements received applications numbering in the lower double digits. Those with remote or hybrid options saw applications in the hundreds. Without serious study we can’t be sure of all the contributing factors. Recent workforce research, though, is pointing to increased desire for flexibility when it comes to the way people work.

We’ve learned from a season of unavoidable remote work that it can be done and it even has certain advantages. Employees are more engaged and are actively pursuing jobs that allow for flexibility. 

What Have We Learned About Flexibility from Remote Work?

With a shortage of workers, many leaders are having to rethink some of their policies about flexibility. You’re not alone if your heart is sinking right now because your mission related activities don’t accommodate remote work. A little hope >> remote work isn’t the only option to offer flexibility to our people.  

Additionally, whether you can re-think flexible work options or not, it’s good to talk through strategies and secure technology that will allow for future flexibility in case this option is unexpectedly necessary once again. Being prepared means your team likely won’t have to scramble or grind to a halt in a crisis. 

What Can We Do With Work Flexibility For Our Team?

Your first gut instinct may be to close the door on the option of flexibility. You may be concerned about treating people fairly while figuring out how to accomplish core activities. This isn’t easy and it will take both time and brain space. So, let’s give you a jump-start with some brainstorming >> which means the ideas aren’t good or bad. Allow ideas to flow so you can adapt, build on them or ponder them for a bit. Sometimes we think we can’t … when with a little thoughtful consideration and planning we actually can. Brainstorm with me!

  • Offer choices in setting regular schedules outside typical office hours that suits their whole-life integration and most productive time of day
  • Provide part-time or job sharing options in addition to full-time positions 
  • Create practices for people to schedule time at a coffee shop or work at home for non-customer/client facing work activities
  • Increase vacation or time off policies for workers that must be on-site
  • Allowing mid-day breaks to address personal appointments versus requiring PTO
  • Offer a compressed workweek, even if it’s just seasonally
  • Freedom to design workstations for ergonomics and personal preferences

As you think through options you may find there are aspects to flexibility you can offer your people now even if you’re co-located.

How Can We Approach Flexibility No Matter Our Location?

Try an experiment. Gather some data. Do this while also remembering that your experiment may lead to other shifts in communication, collaboration or productivity. Pay attention to the ripple effect and address those variables which may derail your experiment. These derailers may cause you to give up too soon and shut the door on addressing the increasing expectations for flexibility in the workplace.

Let’s Hear From You!

What has worked for you or your team to introduce more flexibility while keeping the mission and goals of the team at the forefront? Comment below! Let’s learn from the experiences of each other!

#lessonsfromleadingremote #leadingremote #workflexibility #flexibleworkschedule #workathome

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