RESPONDING TO THE NEW WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY MODEL WHILE PRIORITIZING PRODUCTIVITY
With the world unravelling from the fatigue of the pandemic and now being forced to deal with the after effects, businesses are gearing up for the post COVID-19 era. Are businesses really ready? Can productivity be achieved with work from home and the new experimental shorter four-day week model?
The answer lies in the ability of businesses to manage without micro managing and measuring performance without keeping actual tabs. It also can be found in commitment of employees and how connected they feel to the workplace and work alike. Measuring productivity for shorter work weeks and flexible schedules needs consistency in measuring total output with the given input. Adjusting expectations to suit new levels of flexibility will ensure that work output is measured against new input levels and not earlier levels. From the employee’s perspective, more commitment, maintaining work-life balance and a deep sense of responsibility coupled with self-regulation is vital.
So, the question remains, how can employers achieve this whilst adjusting to the post COVID-19 era and new work flexibility? For starters, setting up an atmosphere of trust is indispensable to the new model of work flexibility. Extreme micro managing will hinder employees ability to carry out tasks to leave them in a disarray and dissatisfied with work. Understanding that allowance of a little elbow room will enable them to be more effective and encourages responsibility toward work. This structure of trust often leads to increased dependability in the long run. Next on the list is to initiate and instil a set of basic fundamentals that employees need to work around. A code of ethics or certain ground rules that need to be followed come what may. This is achieved by establishing performance indicators and measurable output against input. Clarity in what is deemed allowable and what is not needs to be maintained. While the former two steps build the grounds to employers ensuring productivity, there is a need for more tangible elements to this which is maintaining time sheets and carrying out weekly or fortnightly task update meetings.
The positive effects of the new flexibility regime at the workplace cannot be ignored. Research shows that companies spend less on their employees as all social events are now online saving a lot of expense/ The next factor is the number of absent days has reduced drastically as flexibility works in favour of employees thereby making them doubly answerable for productivity within working hours. Employee turnover has become less as people are finding they can be more productive to actual tasks when factors like travel time, corporate attire, issues at the workplace have been minimised or eliminated. A plethora of time and cost saving measures for both employer and employee has definitely come to fruition in the work place. Flexibility at work place is here to stay. It’s a matter of time and how soon can the world adapt that remains to be seen.