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Workplace flexibility has become table stakes for attracting and retaining employees. Now companies must align their flexibility strategy with their core strategy to realize the benefits.
The workplace flexibility movement began to accommodate working mothers. Over time, flexibility options mushroomed: from compressed workweeks to job sharing, telecommuting to adjustable schedules, career lattices to career reentry. From its birth as an employee entitlement, workplace flexibility has grown to become a requirement for organizations that want to make the most of its people’s productivity.
While workplace flexibility is vital for many employees and a welcome option for others, it can be just as beneficial to organizations – but only if well executed. That means seeing it from a business strategy perspective. Technology made today’s brand of flexibility possible, but companies can’t view workplace flexibility is a management challenge. Leaders should be prepared to nurture and grow an effective flexible work environment over time – it can’t be left to chance.
Every organization should think through and define how flexibility will work in its particular case. It’s advisable to define broad parameters that establish clear boundaries and give people flexibility within those boundaries, allowing employees to embrace arrangements that work for them. One size does not fit all.