How to Make Flex Work Part of the Company DNA
The pandemic has forced most to change how they work—including, for many people, adopting flex work practices. But flexible work is much more than working from home, and leaders looking to prepare their companies for the future should not consider these changes as a short-term accommodation.
Employees don’t want any singular program—instead they want greater control over where, when, and how they do their work. At Catalyst, we know from research and experience that flexibility is a key talent management strategy for retaining top talent, particularly women. When flexible work is not available, women downsize their career aspirations more than men do.
Flexibility is also important for developing an agile workplace capable of weathering disruption. Here are four resources to help your company implement flexibility as part of a plan for sustainable, long-term culture change.
Beyond Remote – Flexibility is Key (Supporters Only)
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, such as the gulf in unpaid work between women and men and the opportunities afforded to people of color. For these reasons, inclusive workplaces are more important than ever. This Knowledge Burst—a 10-minute microlearning tool—provides steps for managers to implement informal flexible work for their teams. These steps include creating a plan, communicating clearly and consistently, and being a role model. Managers who role-model flexible work can be a critical first step to broader organizational culture change.
This report was published in 2008, but it remains relevant to the challenges of employees and companies today. Drawing from Catalyst’s experience with consulting companies on workplace agility, the report outlines a sophisticated workforce approach known as Work-Life Effectiveness (WLE). WLE is built on a mutually beneficial partnership between businesses and employees to identify solutions to common challenges such as lack of business agility, team inefficiencies, and employee burnout from juggling the demands of work and home. The report recommends five steps organizations should take to institutionalize WLE.
This report, a companion piece to the one above, focuses on the critical role leaders play in modeling work-life effectiveness for their staff. Catalyst research has shown that managers have a direct impact on employees’ intentions to stay in organizations and on employee productivity levels. We break down five steps that managers can take to support work-life effectiveness in the workplace: Be strategic about the work, understand team members’ needs, support mutually beneficial solutions, create parameters for success, and role-model working flexibly.
Many organizations have some formal flexible work policies in place. But formal policies alone do not mean your organization is supportive of FWAs. This tool shows you how to evaluate the current use of FWAs across your organization. It also walks you through how to create an action plan for change, addressing the need to raise awareness of FWAs, reduce fear of negative consequences for using them, train managers to be more supportive, and build a stronger community across teams.
This is the fifth and final installment in our coronavirus series about inclusive remote and flexible work cultures. See our tips for first-time remote employees, resources for managers of remote teams, case studies on flexible work policies and cultures, and resources on the business case for flex work.