How work flexibility can help your small business thrive
An opportunity to grow in the new normal
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that many small businesses can function and even flourish without a physical in-house team.
Done properly, flexible working boosts productivity, employee retention, workplace diversity, and more. Let’s explore how flexible working can grow your small business.
What is work flexibility?
Work flexibility allows your employees to adapt their work around their personal lives, instead of vice versa.
Work flexibility can include:
• Letting employees work remotely
• Giving employees the freedom to set custom work schedules
• Allowing employees to choose their own tools and methods to do their jobs
• Splitting a role between multiple employees
Why is work flexibility good for your small business?
Flexible working prevents your small team from burnout — and also creates a positive impact on the community.
Productivity will increase. Remote and flexible teams generate just as much or more output as in-house teams that work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Employee retention will increase. When you give employees the freedom of flexible work, morale improves and teammates tend to stick around longer. A study by Stanford Graduate School of Business found that work flexibility can reduce resignations by 50%.
You’ll attract more qualified candidates. Even if your small business can’t offer corporate-sized compensation, many talented professionals who feel stifled at large companies view work flexibility as an extremely attractive benefit.
Your team will become more inclusive. Flexible work frees recruiters from location bias, gender bias, and other obstacles that prevent teams from finding unique and inclusive perspectives to help their small businesses expand.
How can your small business become more flexible?
Make a smooth transition from a strict on-site routine to a more fluid, virtual workspace.
Move to the cloud. Migrate your processes as much as possible to secure cloud-based solutions, and train your employees to use two-factor authentication. Keep in touch with a robust chat app — like Microsoft Teams — that easily integrates with your file-sharing tools.
Train your team how to meet virtually. Video conferencing doesn’t have to be frustrating and unproductive. Timing your responses or holding meetings outdoors are simple methods to keep meeting participants engaged. Check out more ways to hold productive virtual meetings.
Have virtual-only or no-meeting days. If your team must meet physically, you can still boost productivity and employee happiness by limiting the number of meetings to attend, or switching to virtual meetings with clients when possible. As a team, block off an agreed-upon time slot for meeting-free work.
Broaden your view of normal work hours. Many employees prefer to work outside of the traditional nine-to-five time frame, or they may choose to work longer hours for fewer workdays (also known as a compressed week). Help your employees discover what makes them more productive and fulfilled, then encourage it.
Hire with remote work in mind. Don’t automatically dismiss qualified candidates who can never physically visit your workplace. The new normal of work lets you expand your search for people who match your unique needs, no matter where they are.
Got a LinkedIn Learning account? Check out this extensive course on preparing your team for the world of remote work, which includes more tips for virtual interviews and tutorials about the most popular video conferencing tools.
Your team can still thrive together — even when apart.
Today, flexible working is crucial to the success of your small business. With a remote-first approach, you can keep your team working more effectively together, while your business stays attractive to qualified candidates.