4 Reasons Your Startup Should Embrace Workplace Flexibility

In the consumer Internet space, 30 percent of startups say too much competition is their greatest hiring challenge.

Startups with increased workplace flexibility are bridging the gap between this rise in competition and the need for top talent. In fact, 73 percent of working adults list a flexible work schedule as one of the most important factors when looking for a new job.

But implementing flex hours at your startup doesn’t just help attract and retain top talent – it also helps contribute to the overall success of your organization. Some startup founders still aren’t convinced that workplace variability is as great as it’s made out to be, and many simply don’t know where to start.

While it’s true that workplace flexibility largely depends on the job and the personality of the worker, the overall benefits make it a low-risk strategy. Here are four reasons your startup should embrace workplace flexibility:

1. Say Goodbye to Work/Life Imbalance

The reason so many people put flexible work as their most important factor when finding a job is because they want to spend more personal time on family and hobbies. Work is still important to them, but since the possibility is there for them to conveniently and more efficiently do both, flexible work hours seem like a pretty good deal.

The days of traditional 9-to-5 hours are behind us. Technology allows us to quickly and efficiently carry out tasks anytime, anywhere. Workers are constantly connected — an email sent on Saturday can be addressed from home and responded to that same day, for example.

The impact workplace flexibility would have on work/life balance is irrefutable, and startups who embrace it should see a major increase in productivity — and employees will be better able to handle the pressures of their job and personal life away from the office.

2. Look at the Results

Many startups brush off flexible work because they believe their employees should always be there for the customer. Essentially, they’re simply paying them to show their faces. The belief that a worker must be visible to management in order for them to believe they’ve done good work is long outdated.

The bottom line: Startups need to focus on the results instead of whether or not their employees regularly come to the office. While the transition may be difficult, the reward could be game-changing. Increased morale, better engagement, and less-stressed workers are common results from startups that have implemented results-focused strategies at their agencies. Instead of focusing on managing your employees and the way they work, try to manage the work itself and whether or not it’s getting done effectively.

Obviously this can’t work for some roles, and it’s up to you to decide whether the job can get done remotely. Set a goal for your workers, and tell them that as long as they can meet that goal by the deadline, they can work from anywhere they choose. This allows both managers and employees to dedicate more time to the actual work, allowing for efficient results and more time to think about how they can improve the strategy for success in the company.

3. It Could Save You Dough

Startups rely heavily on cash flow to keep things moving and expanding in the company. But often, operating expenses and misused funds simply become too burdensome to handle, causing offices to shut their doors for good. Workplace flexibility can provide a solution to this damaging problem.

In competitive recruiting markets, startups are spending thousands of dollars trying to attract and retain the best talent they can find. Flexible work hours not only help your company stand out to quality candidates, but also convince them to stay when combined with great culture. This could save you loads in recruiting fees.

You might even take it a step further and focus heavily on contract workers — which cost less to hire than full-time workers, and still produce quality work. This allows you to “test drive” workers that you may consider bringing on full-time. It also frees up much more money for expansion efforts to ensure your startup stays successful.

4. Harmony Among Employees

If you instill flexible work schedules for your entire office, allowing them to set their own hours actually promotes teamwork and harmony within your startup. Since all the employees are graced with the privilege of flexible working, there’s a lot more accord.

If one employee is having trouble finishing a task that requires high priority, or they have to leave early to get to an appointment, the rest of the office can pitch in and help out while that person is gone. Since we all reap the benefits, you can collectively become more connected and supportive of each other.

Since employees working under flexible schedules feel more empowered when their personal lives/needs are satisfied, they generally bring about a more happy attitude when they work. This fights the tension and negative forces that sometimes plague traditional work strategies where everyone is under the same roof at the same time.

Has your startup embraced workplace flexibility?

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Written by:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Find Heather on Google+.
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