A recent survey of business leaders indicates that, over the next five years, there will be significant increases in flexible work arrangements. The primary drivers for workshifting will be the need to attract and retain rockstar talent.
The survey, titled “Flexible Work: Perceptions and Realities” was sponsored by FlexPaths, a global leader in flexible working solutions, and LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Survey participants included CEOs, human resources leaders and workspace decision makers.
The summary report, which you can download here, explored many of the key concepts we are still struggling with when it comes to telework: how to define it, managing employees, and understanding the measurable benefits.
What was refreshing to read is the acknowledgement that telework has become important to the competitive business landscape. For many years, telework has been known as a nice-to-have perk. Now it is being seen as a must have in the workplace for several reasons:
- The ability to attract and retain talent
- Reduction in office space and carbon footprint
- Reducing payroll without eliminating jobs
The report identifies several challenges to implementing a flexible work environment. The most common being the challenges of managing a virtual workforce. This will involve the development of new management skills, training of these new skills and major changes in business philosophy. Telework is not about “doing time at work” – it’s about getting results. And holding people accountable for delivering those results.
In addition, employees will have to be equipped for the change of working outside of the traditional office environment. It’s not just getting computer equipment. Let me tell you that working from home is very different than working in a cubicle. And trying to get work done at the airport or your local coffee shop can be even more of a challenge.
It’s very encouraging to see more reports like this one and the real dialogue about workshifting begin. According to this report, 4 out of 5 people will be in some kind of flexible work arrangement by 2016. The conversation can’t start a moment too soon. As our economy is talking about job creation, it only makes sense to include some discussion about the need to create flexible jobs and effectively building a support system for those flexible jobs.
What do you think? Will businesses increase opportunities for flexible work? Are we seeing the “tipping point” for workshifting?
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