February 1, 2022

Smart Working: why companies should meet employees call for more flexibility

Smart working

According to a global Linkedin survey on what matters most when looking for a job, people pay great attention to a good work-life balance.
This is certainly not surprising when you think about how the business world has changed since the 1950s. Over the years, the working environment has evolved to become more dynamic and flexible. Flexibility is what employees are looking for the most today. Their priority lies in mental and physical well-being and personal satisfaction, looking for less rigid working environments. Do you agree? Let’s look at some interesting data and 2022 trends about new ways of working.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE IN 2022: FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEYWORD COMPANIES SHOULD KEEP IN MIND

"Today, the idea of kidnapping employees and bringing them together in an office from 9 am to 5 pm every day seems obsolete, the future is flexibility"

Paddy Hull, Vice President of The Future Of Work at Unilever.

The pandemic period we are currently living in has certainly changed our habits, not only on a personal level, but also and above all in the workplace. Covid-19 has accelerated the digitization of many work environments, forcing companies to find more flexible solutions. While some years ago, smart working was an opportunity for a few privileged people, today, it is becoming the norm. But what does the data tell us about this new working formula? And how are employees reacting?

smart working

Employees are reconsidering their priorities. They no longer want to live solely to work and ask companies to pay more attention to their well-being. Companies who wish to rely on satisfied and happy employees should seriously consider changing their policies as soon as possible, using the companies that have already done it as role models. Flexibility always remains the keyword to keep in mind: companies should invest in enhancing human relationships and wellness programs, offering different options for working.
Have we already convinced you there is a real change in progress? To give you deeper insight,  we’d like to share with you data from interesting research carried out by The Adecco Group. In Italy, 76% of workers believe that a mix of office work and remote work is the best solution for the future, and almost 80% of them ask for more flexibility. Sure, it’s easy to talk about smart working, but putting it into practice is definitely a horse of a different color. Let’s find out more about it.

SMART WORKING: FEW BUT PRECIOUS TIPS TO DO IT RIGHT

To ensure employees’ efficiency even when they work from home, it is important to have a strategy. Employees who work remotely should remain productive, and the company should continue to engage them in the teamwork, treating them fairly. So, specifically, how can you make smartworking actually work? Here are some tips:

Employees who work from home, five days or fewer a week, could feel a little bit overlooked. Managers can avoid this situation by adopting an approach of continuously monitoring and communicating with them, assuring that no one is left behind.

It can be useful, as IBM did during the peak of the pandemic, to illustrate the smart working policy in a single document. This way, companies fully inform their employees of their rights and duties, involving them in the adopted flexible work approach.

Companies should start to assess their employees based on their actual ability to achieve goals. It’s no longer necessary to count the hours people spend at their desks or staying late just because the boss hasn’t left the office yet. This is crazy, right? It is much more efficient, where possible, to let employees freely organize their time, what matters is the result!

THE GREAT RESIGNATION PHENOMENON: WE JUST CAN’T LIVE TO WORK

In all of Europe, we can see an increase in voluntary resignation. The phenomenon has started in the United States and is exponentially growing. In the article “Who Is Driving the Great Resignation” by Harvard Business Review, we can find an interesting analysis of over 9 million employees from over 4,000 companies in different sectors, functions, and levels of experience. Researchers recorded the highest rate of resignation among employees aged 30 to 45, with an average level of experience. According to the latest Eurostat data, the vacancy rate is at an all-time high in Europe as well. You’re probably wondering why. One of the main causes of this mass resignation is the so-called “burnout syndrome”, where a  professional situation is perceived as exhausting from the psychophysical point of view. As a result of the various lockdowns, people started to reevaluate leisure and family. They also acquired a new awareness: to have a satisfactory professional life, they don’t need to choose between well-being and efficiency. So, we can say that the pandemic had the positive aspect of forcing us to pause and ask ourselves what is best for us.

smart working

SMART WORKING AND FLEXIBILITY ARE A WIN-WIN, HERE’S WHY

When we talk about the positive aspects of smart working, of course, we are not just referring to its benefits for employees. Agile work and flexibility bring benefits on both sides: for the company and its employees.
We are not just talking about measurable benefits either. Sure, remote work or hybrid work lead to savings on transport or electricity costs, but above all they have qualitative benefits such as reducing work stress, increasing the spare time to spend with loved ones and employee satisfaction. Specifically, companies should focus on this last concept. According to some research, the adoption of smart working increases both employee motivation and engagement. In this way, the “big resignations” phenomenon and its consequence of losing valid employees are no longer a risk. Times have changed! Companies should listen to their employees’ needs, ensuring greater flexibility. People would think twice before looking for a new job, wouldn’t they? It’s time to give trust and freedom to employees. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN PROMOTING THE EMPLOYER BRANDING

According to 2021 Linkedin data,  job seekers are more demanding, and before applying, they analyse almost twice as many job offers as in 2019. As a result, companies change their approach when attracting and involving new resources. Instead of talking about challenging work, we should focus on flexibility, benefits, and mobility rates.

"Corporate culture is changing rapidly: to keep up, companies need to innovate and look ahead. It is a unique opportunity to lay the foundations of a culture that allows everyone to give their best at work and live a more rewarding life."

Teulia Hanson, Chief People Officer at Linkedin

Having a solid corporate culture is not enough. It is necessary to communicate it, getting each employee to speak about its values. To achieve this goal, companies need to adopt an effective employer branding strategy:

LISTENING TO EMPLOYEES’ NEW NEEDS TO STAND OUT IN THE MARKET

The so-called Great Reshuffle confronts companies with enormous challenges and immense possibilities. All those companies that are able to reinvent traditional work patterns in favor of greater flexibility surely will have a huge advantage. Ensuring a work-life balance for employees will lead them to be more efficient, as companies will judge them by the results obtained and not by the hours spent in front of a computer. This change of perspective will allow organizations to adopt a new approach based on the aspects highlighted so far. This way, companies will develop their own tactics in line with the corporate culture, ensuring their employees’ well-being and professional growth.

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