5 tips to help you create flexibility

March 12, 2021

Excerpt from “The New Shape of Work”, published in the Q1 2021 version of #evolve

In the wake of school and workplace closures and family health concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees have had to adapt to new ways of working flexibly.

For the most part, this has been a surprising success. While COVID-19 has opened employers’ eyes to their workforce’s adaptability, it is time to convert this emergency experimentation into permanent policy to benefit from the lessons learned and strengthen an organization’s brand value by meeting the needs of what employees have requested for years.

A well-considered, value-based approach to reinventing flexibility will accelerate transformation and set the course for the future of work. Here are five tips to help organizations get started in building their flexibility model:

  1. Start shaping your strategy, even if you do not plan to return to the office anytime soon, because employees are looking for guidance. COVID-19 has reshaped employee values, attitudes and practices around remote work, and many are starting to explore options that aren’t tied to a daily commute.
  2. Assess the capacity for jobs within your organization that can flex for the long term. As a result of the pandemic, employers learned that most jobs can work remotely, but the question now is whether that can and should be sustained for the long term. Job-based assessments can address those questions.
  3. Engage with leaders and employees to understand what is desirable and what is or is not working in the current experience. Tune into how you can support employees’ needs to help them bring their best self to work every day — whether that means commuting to the office or to the next room.
  4. Build your foundation for an effective policy by examining risk and compliance and developing strong governance procedures and effective communication and change strategies.
  5. Assess and prioritize changes to your infrastructure and people programs to sustain flexibility for the long term. Programs like talent acquisition, onboarding and career development will all need to support a new flexible workforce.

Looking for more information on how to create a more flexible workplace? Read the full article here, or contact us at surveys@mercer.com.