A Harvard Business Review article from last summer had the following title, “96% of U.S. Professionals Say They Need Flexibility, but Only 47% Have It.” It then follows up with what may be the majority experience in professions across the country, “Employers today know that employees want flexibility, and many companies say they offer it. But there are lots of people out there who need flexibility but don’t have access to it.”

Structured flexibility

How flexible is your company, really? Sure, it’s a buzzword, one that is used to continue conversations during recruitment. But when it comes down to it — does your company follow through with the flexibility it promises? Perhaps it does and maybe employees are needing the flexibility manifested in different ways. According to the HBR article that surveyed 1,583 professionals, it found, “Of the employees who did report having access to some flexibility, only 19% said they had access to structured flexibility programs. A structured flexibility program is one in which employees have a range of flexibility options to choose from and those options are broadly communicated across an organization.”

This concept of structured flexibility is somewhat paradoxical but can work given there are boundaries around the nature of the flexibility. This results lie in clarity around expectations, helping employees understand where the organization is prepared and willing to be flexible.

Employees are struggling to balance the competing priorities in their life, which ultimately hurts both the individual and the company due to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and greater work-related health problems. The answer resides in employers being willing to provide the flexibility needed for better balance of work, health, family — life in general.

An adaptable work structure

This is likely the most common request for flexibility amongst employees. Many want the ability to work remotely if needed, or to adjust their work day based on traffic, child care, etc. Each company, industry and job will differ in the degree to which flexibility is available; however, a general attitude of flexibility of leadership toward employees can go a long way in boosting morale. Employees should feel confident that they can handle personal situations that crop up without fear of consequence. With flexibility comes responsibility and the need for trust. Which is where having structure flexibility can provide necessary expectations of how to use this benefit. As a company determines the level of flexibility that can be handled, it’s important to determine the following:

  • What are the non-negotiable aspects of the policy? Make sure these are adhered to consistently.
  • What are the expected performance measures? Both parties need to clearly understand what is expected to maintain the flexible arrangement.
  • Is this policy applicable to everyone? One of the best ways to manage flexibility is for management to lead by example. Employees will look to their superiors to gauge what is appropriate.

Greater wellness options

Corporate wellness plans positively impact employees and their organizations. However, not all programs are successful. Much of this has to do with a lack of engagement on the part of the employee due to disinterest in the offerings. There can be several reasons for this, but one of the leading explanations points to corporate programs not offering what individuals need. Companies may initially think it isn’t possible to address each employee’s specific preferences and needs, but it is. Solutions like ClassPass Corporate empower the user by giving them the freedom to choose the kind of workout, class, service they want to engage in. In the case of ClassPass, users have access to one million classes offered across the globe from yoga, cycling, boxing and bootcamp to normal gym sessions and online videos – all tailored to serve varying fitness levels and schedules. Giving your employees the power to choose and not be locked into one option will motivate them to engage in and commit to the activities they are most interested in. The result? Increased health, happiness and engagement at work. Win-win for everyone.

When it comes to flexibility, does your company just talk the talk — or do they actually walk the walk? Improve flexibility within structured boundaries, all while giving your employees more freedom to choose how to balance their work and life needs. Integrate flexible wellness into your company strategy by contacting ClassPass Corporate.

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