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What does flexibility really mean?


25 Aug, 2022

Image: Protein Studios, London.

As workplaces around the world test and experiment with future work strategies the best options will be ones that put workers needs at the forefront. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2021 report 75% of workers say that flexibility is their main priority when looking for a new job.

New employee expectations around collaboration, learning and wellbeing require companies to be more fluid with how people integrate work into their lives more holistically. The balancing act is figuring out how to do this in a way that maintains business outcomes with people and their wellbeing.

“Enabling flexibility has obvious benefits for employees, but it’s not a zero-sum game,”

“It can also lead to positive outcomes for customers and ultimately bolster the bottom line. Achieving this win-win isn’t a given—it requires a proactive and deliberate approach that embraces entirely new ways of thinking. The opportunity in front of leaders today is a big one, and if done right can help them find the balance between business outcomes and employee growth and wellbeing.”
Jared Spataro, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Modern Work.

Flexibility and choice is becoming a competitive advantage and a tool that is becoming used to attract and retain the best talent in the market. Given the choice, employees will be happier, and they will do more for you.

This isn’t just about COVID either. Ideas around flexibility at work have been around since the introduction of “flexiwork” by Christel Kammerer in the 1960s as a way to address new ways of working for women – especially mothers and caregivers – through to the introduction of telecommuting as a way to reduce pollution and mitigate emerging fuel-shortage crises. We have already been trying to address global threats and rising inequalities, the pandemic just magnified existing challenges.

“When you let a team come up with their own rules around flexibility and remote structure, the message you’re sending is ‘we trust you,’ and that seems to work really well,”
Dan Roth, LinkedIn Editor in Chief.

By caring about people and their needs it becomes easier to provide the resources to make flexibility achievable.

There are now endless ways to work and even a range of new perspectives on what work is and can be. At NearU, we believe that work has changed from a place that we go, to a thing that we do, giving flexibility the freedom to become… Well, (almost) anything we would like it to be. Most importantly, it is about giving employees choice and putting people’s needs at the forefront of decision-making.