Adapt and Grow: The Revolutionary Role of Flexibility in a New Era of Remote Working
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it’s acting with yesterday’s logic,” said management guru Peter Drucker, in a truism that speaks volumes in the post-Covid era.
The U.S. labor market is currently at a crossroads, with new and volatile crosswinds, including booming job vacanciesand Americans quitting their jobs at recording rate – forcing leaders to rethink the parameters of what work means.
Where once upon a time corporate America was ruled by the rigid presenteeism of a 9-to-5 world, the same logic these days – in settings where remote working is possible – will cost employers dearly. According to a March 2022 Gallup study, 54% of fully remote workers in the United States said they would look for another job if their company stopped offering remote work options.
In a highly competitive climate, however, the ability to work from anywhere is only the start of a major structural overhaul that most CEOs will need in their repertoire. The larger challenge is to build a culture that puts employee trust and autonomy at the center of attention. Here’s why and how this change can happen.
Expand the talent pool
With a folder 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs In November 2021 alone, it’s no wonder more than two-thirds of CEOs see a skills shortage as this year’s biggest disruptor.
This trend can be found all over the world, including Great Britainin a particularly acute crisis within engineering and technology-led roles – crucial areas for business growth in the digital age.
As a startup operating out of London, one of the world’s leading tech startups, our leadership team quickly recognized the importance of flexibility in bridging this talent gap. And, while we’ve always prided ourselves on having an open and agile work culture, we realized we needed to raise the bar by making it a key tenet of our post-Covid structure.
This change resulted in the implementation of two major policies. First, we decided to hire remote workers internationally by partnering with a service called deel to manage local payroll and compliance issues for us. And secondly, we’re bringing into play a ‘work abroad’ benefit, whereby our existing team members are supported to live and work around the world in a location of their choosing for a month. So far, employees have used it to work everywhere, from Berlin to Los Angeles and the south of France.
These decisions, both focused on flexibility, have allowed us to expand our talent pool by hiring people around the world quickly and seamlessly. And, most importantly, we can attract world-class candidates from the travel industry – many of whom will relish the opportunity to spread their wings working abroad.
Create a hybrid culture
What workplace flexibility will look like will vary across different industries and organizational needs; but the key is to listen to your employees; and push the boundaries of what you think you can achieve. With flexibility now a primary consideration for talent retention (McKinsey) and CEO standing up for lose nearly 40% of their workforce with a forced return to the office (Gartner), the old work rules no longer apply.
Creating a new people-centric hybrid culture is therefore a must. In an environment where many leaders still tend towards the precedent in office, with concerns about remote compliance issues or a lack of interpersonal connection, this change will be nothing short of drastic. And to work, it requires a bastion of very flexible protocols and benefits in place.
Part of the challenge is deciding what flavor of remote work you will embrace as a business. Will you be fully remote or will you be spending time together in the office quarterly? And will you be remote and synchronous, or remote and asynchronous (meaning fewer meetings and everything being rigorously documented)? These choices have a major impact on the type of people who will be attracted to your business and the processes you will follow in a flexible culture.
Once you’ve made these important decisions, you’ll want to dig into more specific hybrid working strategies. Research shows that Gen Z and Gen Y workers, in particular, favor remote working methods; but with the caveat that they are completely inclusive, with room for all team members to learn and grow. To combat the risk of proximity biasyou will need to provide a range of management training, working methods and promotion follow-up measures.
The power of autonomy
Ultimately, flexibility in a post-Covid era is not about paying lip service to one-time benefits, such as flexible start or end times. It’s not even just about introducing provisions for remote work per se.
To return to Peter Drucker’s advice, flexibility in the truest sense of the word is about restructuring the “logic of yesterday” with a new approach to operations, hiring and development decisions; one that is rooted in remote working capabilities.
Beyond day-to-day work logistics, or even company signage, flexibility is a matter of mindset. Employee autonomy being a central pillar of happiness at workthe CEOs who will thrive in the age of flexibility are those who give their people the freedom to choose where and how they work.
Flexibility is a matter of openness and trust. This allows leadership teams to detach themselves from outdated management terms and instead recognizes that team members themselves can make the best decisions about how to work productively, regardless of where they live or where they live. number of hours they spend.
The world of work is changing rapidly, and a severe skills shortage calls for decisive action from America’s CEOs. It starts with exploring what flexibility in a remotely led culture really means for your business; and how it can be used to attract new and diverse talent in an increasingly global market.
Written by Radha Vyas, CEO and co-founder of adventure travel company Flash Pack.
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