February 8th, 2016

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Knoll research indicates that 56% of Generation Y want to work flexibly,and 79% prefer to be mobile rather than static workers.

Demand for choice around how/where/when to work is undeniably on the rise and employers will need to recognise and adopt less traditional ways of working if they want to attract and retain the best people for the job.

Successfully managing flexible work conditions can become an integral part of a business’ intangible benefits – if you can make it work for your business there are huge implications in regards to attracting and retaining a superstar team.

Flexible working has been a key part of our business culture at Humankind and has helped us to appeal to some fantastic talent, including working mothers, staff heading into retirement and also Gen Y employees who love this way of working.

But, and its a big but, doing it well is a lot harder than just being open to the idea flexibility and goes back to how you measure success. Are you looking at the role’s overall contribution to your business strategy and does your development framework support different ways of making this contribution? It comes down to the way the business functions in regards to measuring outputs versus measuring inputs, something we’ve talked about here.

It seems pretty straightforward that if you are managing inputs (aka how many hours someone is spending at their desk) you are not going to be comfortable with flexible work arrangements that don’t allow you to do so. If you are measuring what are you wanting that role to achieve in your business you’re going to be far more comfortable.

We are making it pretty black and white here for the sake of getting to the point, but it’s important to see what a big shift of thinking it is to move from how people have been historically measured and how some businesses have always been run, to this new school measurement of outputs.

In a nutshell, flexibility is all about trust and it won’t suit everyone – the key lies in looking at how a more flexible workplace will impact your staff. Will it be a welcome change, or does it sit too far outside the vision and management style of your leaders and business to be implemented in a realistic and genuine way?

Does your business benefit from flexible working conditions? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear your thoughts.


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