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What do flexible work arrangements look like in your workplace?

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

It has now been over 2 years since the Covid-19 pandemic thrusted workplaces into virtual environments. According to a survey conducted in 2020, 70% of full-time employees in the US were working remotely due to the pandemic.



Across the board, we have seen how working from home or working remotely can make an employee feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues and the organization. Catching up over a morning coffee and the ability to conduct business face to face became virtual calls – not without technology glitches or unwelcome interruptions from those in the background! By now, we are all familiar with these lines:

  • "Who are we waiting for?"

  • "You're on mute, we cannot hear you"

  • "Can you see my screen?"

  • "...but don't worry, I'm going to send all of this information in an email OK?"

As time has passed, many organizations have adapted to a “new normal”, operating a hybrid model of physical and virtual workplaces - partly due to restrictions imposed by governing bodies and also due to the realization that the location of one's work is less important than the ability to get the job done. Employees have realized this too – we have all heard of the “Great Resignation” - In July 2021, 4 million American’s left their jobs – amongst personal goals, employees are seeking working arrangements that work for them, and are prepared to leave to get it.


It may be more common now for people to leave organizations who do not offer flexibility, but by carefully designing sustainable flexible working arrangements, we have a better chance of countering the impacts of the "Great Resignation".


Here are some questions for us to reflect on:

  • What do flexible working arrangements look like in your organization now?

  • What has your organization learned in the last 2 years that can be used to improve your current practice?

Whether you have flexible working arrangements in place or you're still crafting one, here are 5 things to consider to design a happy workplace:


1. Consider what is the productivity and output of an employee working remotely vs working from the office and how are you measuring this? Would a commissioned outcome work where an output target is agreed upon, irrespective of the hours worked to achieve it?


2. Consider that workplace flexibility does not only entail where the employee works from, but also includes factors such as job sharing or compressed work hours. 75% of people who have not been able to work from home during the pandemic still agree that flexible working arrangements are important to them.


3. Consider the tools an employee needs in order to do their job effectively and efficiently as well as the training that may be required to use it. Apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have an array of useful functions that can elevate meetings and workshops to make them more productive and engaging – if you know how to use them.


Tip: For online collaboration, brainstorming and mapping, we recommend checking out Miro and Mural – both have easy-to-use templates and multi-user capability. Microsoft Teams also has a virtual whiteboard which is an effective alternative.


4. Consider that not all employees are interested in working remotely or having flexible arrangements – Just because the option is there, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to take it. Personal circumstances will play a part when this arrangement is of importance. However, for those who take advantage of this option, consider having a clear framework in place to support and set your managers and employees up for success.


Tip: We recommend implementing a “Flexible Work Framework” for your organization. Use the below table as a guide.

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5. Lastly, there is no one definition for “Flexible work practices” so make it work for you and your employees. Consider co-creating the framework with your team and people from different parts of your organization. Brainstorm on what flexible work practices look like to them and what can be successfully implemented both short and long term. A quick win could be allowing an employee to start an hour later to assist their dependents, or a “choose a day” to work from home once a week. A simple change like this can make a huge difference to the employee’s wellbeing and morale.


Remember, good things take time. Nothing is set in stone. You can always iterate your flexible work practices along the way.


If you need support in designing your Flexible Work Framework, get in touch with us at contact@perkypeople.co.nz, and let's design a happy workplace together!

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