This blog was posted on Inside INdiana Business’s website here.

Hybrid work is no longer going to be the exception, but the expectation for the modern day workforce. In a survey by FlexJobs’ conducted in 2021, an astounding 97% of workers desire some form of remote work.

As we have learned in our business, change is inevitable. How organizations choose to handle change and the tools, solutions and procedures that they put into place to manage that change are what makes the difference between success and failure. Here are a few best practices and many ways in which organizations who choose to support a flexible workplace can boost hiring, increase employee retention and enable team members to work smarter.

A recipe for healthy work-life balance

A frequent issue in today’s world is the difficulty of striking a good work-life balance. Enabling employees to structure their workday so they can be their most productive gives them the personal freedom to better manage their home and family responsibilities.

In addition, with the time and cost savings of removing a daily commute to the office, team members not only reduce their personal expenses, but the stress that can often accompany a drive to work in heavy traffic.

We have gained a lot of insight in the past two years about remote work and have learned it is sustainable. The environment is different from the in-office experience so we can’t expect the same systems to work. Once new guidelines are in place, clearly communicating expectations, continuing to schedule time to build your culture and providing opportunities for colleagues to connect are the ingredients needed to create a healthy work-life balance.

Attracting and keeping top notch talent

Attracting and retaining top talent in today’s competitive job market can be an arduous task as demand for skilled, qualified people often outpaces the supply. When you’re not limited by geography, you can choose candidates that are uniquely suited for the position, even if they live hundreds of miles away.

Flexible work models, when executed properly, provide opportunities to build a high-performance team and to access talent in target groups and create compelling job opportunities that meet the needs of a diverse workforce. For example, appealing to the lifestyle needs of working women or enabling those with disabilities who may face barriers commuting or working in a traditional workplace allows employers to level the playing field and provide opportunities that may not have existed consistently before.

Furthermore, when the workplace is no longer relegated to one particular location, life changes such as a spouse taking a job in a different city no longer mean your organization has to lose a valued team member or incur the turnover costs. According to Gusto data, being a fully remote worker correlates to as much as a 13% decrease in the odds of quitting within three months of hire, saving businesses thousands of dollars per worker annually in turnover costs.

Providing flexibility to candidates can help remove barriers to entry and enable organizations to improve their ability to attract, recruit and keep hard to reach talent.

It’s not where time is spent, but how it’s invested

Adopting a long-term flexible work model is a wise investment for enhancing productivity. When the pandemic first began, most of us were not accustomed to working remotely, but now that we’ve had time to adapt, we’ve seen it’s no longer necessary to be physically present at an office to produce great results.

In fact, an ongoing survey about employees’ work arrangements and attitudes toward remote work recently cited that people who worked remotely at least some of the time reported being about 9% more efficient working from home than they were working from the office.

Productivity is different for everyone, so allowing those who prefer to work hours outside of the traditional 9 to 5 empowers them to do what works best for them versus trying to fit everyone into the same mold. In addition, the flexibility to work in a location that limits distractions from co-workers helps team members  get more work done without the interruptions which are part of the traditional office environment.

As more organizations consider their long-term goals for what their office will look like in the coming years, ingraining flexibility into the company culture is not only good for employees, it’s good for business. Adapting to this new way of working and putting processes and solutions in place to sustain team performance and culture will help attract, retain and engage the high-quality talent that will power the organization for years to come.