Flexible Work Arrangements: Pros & Cons

Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) have taken the traditional organizational practices by storm and are being dubbed as a “Revolution for the New-age Workplace”. More and more job seekers are choosing employers that promote flexible work arrangements in their organizational setup. As per a survey by Zenefits, 67% of the small businesses in their survey offered some form of FWA. Moreover, out of all the employees’ studies, 73% stated that such arrangements increased their job satisfaction.

While understanding Flexible Work Arrangements, one needs to focus on its various aspects. From being able to work from the desired location, choose the working shift or functioning additional hours on 3 working days as against the 5-day work culture, the traits of FWA majorly disrupt the conventional work culture.

However, like any new trend that comes up, Flexible Work Arrangements carry their own set of pros and cons. 

So, below are a myriad of merits and demerits that employers need to grasp before stepping into the realm of Flexible Work Arrangements.

Merits

  • Cost-effective

As employees are not restricted to the office workspace, organizations can save the transportation and infrastructure costs spent on them. For companies that function on the 24*7 model, FWA can enable better seat utilization of their workspace.

  • Business Continuity

Organizations that cater to the global market are bound to align their work shifts as per their clients. In cases like these, a platform that promotes FWA can ensure providing round the clock availability to their clients. With a robust system of business continuity, these companies are sure to garner new clients from the global market, thereby increasing their share and turnover.

  • Increased Productivity

FWA functions on the concept of focussed and measurable results. Employers decide on the results and the timelines that they’re planning to achieve, without restricting the employees to accomplish them in the 9 to 5 timeframe in the office workspace. This practice enhances productivity as employees function as per their ease and convenience, bearing the final result and timeline in mind.  

  • Employee Motivation 

A workforce that is given a choice to decide their work arrangements is sure to rank high on motivation. FWA allows the employees to manage their professional needs without compromising on the personal ones. Thereby, enhancing employee engagement and motivation.   

  • Reduced Employee Turnover

In numerous scenarios, companies tend to lose out on skilled and talented employees that aren’t able to focus on their personal life. FWA can prove to be a boon as it allows employees to make a choice in their work shift and the workdays in which they are effectively available. Once they are able to achieve a work-life balance, their loyalty towards the firm tends to increase. 

  • Quicker Results

Employees thriving on a flexible work model tend to be connected for the most part of the day, which goes beyond the 5 pm restriction that traditional workplaces have. This aspect of FWA helps in providing a quick turnaround to client queries and requirements.

Demerits

  • Difficult to Quantify 

Unlike the age-old practices of punching their shift time, FWA doesn’t allow a transparent time tracking system for employers. As it thrives on focussed results and not on the way of attaining them, employees can play around with the time at hand.   

  • Promotes Silos

Though FWA is seen to enhance productivity, it promotes the idea of working in silos and can narrow down the employees’ appetite for client meetings and discussions.  

  • Lack of Human Interaction

It is well known that employees function well in an environment where they have the opportunity to walk up to their manager’s cabin, turn to their neighbor for a light-hearted chit-chat or have a brainstorming session over coffee. Unfortunately, these ways seem to get lost with FWA practices seeping in the industry.

  • Lack of Supervision

As employees are not in the direct line of sight of their supervisors, FWA can cause performance issues as close monitoring is improbable.

  • Inapplicable to 100% Workforce

Irrespective of how great the results of FWA prove to be, it cannot be extended to the complete workforce. There can be cases of newly hired resources that need to undergo training, employees in client-facing roles, support functions like IT, HR, etc. who will not be able to avail the benefits of FWA. Partial application of FWA can be a cause of employee dissatisfaction.   

  • Chances of Misuse

Though FWA is sure to enhance employee productivity and motivation, we can’t disregard the fact that employees can also misuse this facility. Employees can distort the focus from professional to personal time.

Now that we’ve got a glimpse of both sides of the coin, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that FWAs are to the workplace, what ‘’Internet’’ was to the world of communication. The success of such arrangements is highly dependent on its users as to how effectively they can plan and implement it. 

So ultimately, it’s for the organizations to decide if offering FWAs aligns with their company goals or not. Akin to the internet, if not used with precision and prudence, Flexible Work Arrangements can also do as much harm as good.

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