In the fast-paced, technology-assisted workplace of the modern era, both productivity and profitability can be improved in multiple ways. One of the best ways to improve both is to prioritize the reduction of employee turnover, something that has been shown to be incredibly cost-effective, especially at higher performance and salary levels.
It’s hugely expensive to replace staff members that require extensive training to do their jobs. In fact, it can cost up to 213% of the salary of executive-level workers just to find a replacement and train them to reach the level of productivity of their predecessor. When someone’s earning six figures, just keeping that employee around can help you save money!
To address this, businesses are getting more and more creative about how to entice their existing workforce to stay with the company, and they’re not always using pay raises to do it. Workplace flexibility and remote working have been a huge hit with employees across many industries.
With most people constantly connected to the internet plus a bigger desire than ever for work-life balance, it’s no wonder workplace flexibility is a great way to keep your best people happy and off the job boards.
People Want More than Just the Money
Reducing employee turnover is a case-by-case approach. Company structures, workforce profiles, and operational processes all vary widely. Some businesses offer incentives for employees who stay with them for a certain number of years although the traditional gold watch has largely been replaced by extra paid leave or a gift card for your favorite store.
While many of these strategies do work and work well, there’s another, less common way to reduce employee turnover: offering flexible workplace and remote working options.
The Three Workplace Variables
Regardless of which industry you’re in or the kind of product or service your company provides, there are three key variables that are part of every single worker’s average workday. They are:
- How they work
- Where they work
- When they work
Let’s take each of these variables one at a time and explore the multitude of ways that adding workplace flexibility can make for a better work experience for your team.
1. How employees work
Think about what your people need access to in order to meet their responsibilities. Unless they are doing in-person customer interfacing, chances are that they basically need a computer with internet access in order to do their job.
There are many fantastic digital tools available that allow teams to work from pretty much anywhere. Some examples include:
HipChat – A web-based communication and chat tool.
Screenhero - Allows you to share your screen with anyone, anywhere.
Skype – Most people are familiar with one of the original video call tools. It’s also great for demos and has a pretty nifty chat feature.
Google Drive - Is free up to 15 GB of data and allows your team to share files easily.
15five - Keeps remote workers motivated and engaged plus allows you to share feedback with others.
Trello – An easy-to-use project management tool.
There is a digital tool for nearly every activity or function you might perform in a traditional office.
If you’re worried about keeping track of productivity while you cannot see what people are doing, there are many time tracking tools available.
If you have a large team to manage or are a smaller business with fewer resources, you could consider outsourcing the HR and personnel aspects of your business. They can deal with the people practicalities such as performance management, time tracking, leave, etc., no matter where they’re based.
2. Where employees work
It’s not uncommon for employees to have ‘flex days’ added to their standard, 5-day work week. What this may mean for some companies is instituting a policy that allows for one day a week when an employee may work from a remote location.
For those workers who have significant family obligations, this can be just the breath of fresh air they need to remain motivated enough to stay onboard longer, being more productive and contributing more to the team.
However, some companies are going one step further and allowing team members to work remotely full time. Remote working gives employees more control of their schedule and their lives in general.
Working from a remote location or from a coworking space means employees are still getting their work done, hitting their deadlines and meeting responsibilities, but in a way that suits them.
Coworking spaces offer many benefits aside from great coffee and a comfortable desk. There’s the ability to get out of the bubble of your home office, meet some people, enjoy the buzz of others working and getting things done. Productivity is largely infectious. Some also offer networking and social opportunities which can be a great way to expand your professional and personal circles.
3. When employees work
The third workplace variable affecting most employees is when they do their work. In some industries, it’s impossible to work outside of a standard timeframe due to the nature of the work that’s being done. One example of this is in retail, where store hours run on a set schedule, and it’s just not realistic to consider having employees work outside of those hours.
However, for many jobs, productivity can be maintained before or after standard ‘office hours’. Modifying typical work hours might make it easier for some people to manage their personal commitments or work when they feel most energized and productive.
Some people love to start their day at 5:00 am while others are more productive in the evenings and into the night. As long as work is being done and goals are being achieved, there’s no real need to tie anyone to specific hours.
This can also be a big help if you work with clients in other time zones, making it easier to arrange meetings and hold conversations.
Thanks to the development of technology and also new attitudes toward the working day, there are more ways than ever to offer workplace flexibility. Doing so is a lot easier than you may think, and the results will come in the form of a happier, more productive workforce that appreciates the allowances that their employer makes for them to live their best lives.
About the author: Jock is an entrepreneur who owns and runs a digital business brokerage. He and his entire team work remote and he’s a big advocate for a flexible work day and work environment. He knows you don’t have to sit in a cubicle to meet your goals!