No one wants to point fingers, but if you tried implementing flexibility at your company and didn't enjoy the vast rewards of flex—e.g. boosts to employee morale and engagement, increased productivity, improved health and wellness, just to name a few—then you probably did something wrong. It's the blunt truth: When flexibility fails, it’s usually due to human error, and it's often because the decision-makers—no matter how well intentioned—failed to use data when they created or changed their flexible work policies.
Without data, flexibility policies are often shots in the dark—top-down guesswork that relies on one-size-fits-all "solutions."
Imagine a CEO, for example, learning about how workers at other companies have become more productive with the Remote flex type and how location independence can help optimize corporate real estate. And now imagine that CEO deciding to decentralize the entire organization, not realizing that most of their employees actually perform best in the office and really just need TimeShift to alleviate a long commute. The result? You guessed it—flexibility will be deemed unsuccessful, all employees will promptly be called back to the office, and flex won’t be spoken of again. (See also: the flexibility glass cliff.)
Still unbeknownst to many, flexibility ecompasses so much more than the ability to work away from the company office. Employees' flexibility needs are much more nuanced and varied, and can depend on any number of factors, including family structure, health, commute, and working style. In fact, the average worker needs access to 2.5 types of flexibility. But oftentimes, employers don't know what flexibility types their employees need, and employees often don't know what to ask for or how to ask for it. Other times, employers dole out flexibility as a reward or favor, instead of making flex a structured part of their company culture.
That's where Werk proves vital. Not only have we named and defined the six types of flexibility, but we also algorithmically determine how much of your workforce needs each type—overall, and across key demographic faultlines like gender, caregiving status, generation, department, etc. Werk also measures an organization's flexibility gap—i.e. the degree to which flex is in demand more than it is accessible—and then presents flex opportunities, highlighting the ones with the best return on investment. And our platform can even provide personalized reports for each employee, identifying the flex types they need, not just the ones they want. We can’t stress enough how crucial it is to gather this data before rolling out any new flexibility policy or program or changing an existing one.
If you're interested in exploring sustainable change through flexibility at your organization, request a Werk demo.