Workplace Flexibility : Beware of Its Pitfalls!

As HR managers, you understand the importance of organizational flexibility in meeting the challenges of the labor market. But are you aware of the potential pitfalls associated with too hasty a move towards work flexibility?

Workplace Flexibility : Beware of Its Pitfalls!

Recently, SIGMA-RH surveyed members of the HR function from about sixty companies via LinkedIn. To the question "What are the HR challenges that concern you?", nearly 50% responded "Organizational flexibility".

Organizational flexibility is not new. However, the health crisis and the recruitment difficulties that many companies are experiencing have given it particular sharpness. Today, work flexibility is no longer an exception, but a new standard.

The Benefits of a Flexible Approach

Several studies demonstrate the benefits of adopting such an approach. Among them, those of Ergotron* and Owl Labs** – Global Workforce Analytics conducted in 2022.

  • 88% of people said that work flexibility had increased their job satisfaction.*
  • 56% of respondents said that work flexibility had improved their mental health.*
  • People working remotely and in a hybrid mode were 22% happier**

The Pitfalls of Organizational Flexibility

Thus, the benefits of flexibility are no longer to be proven. However, if poorly structured, this approach can have certain pitfalls. What are they? How to avoid them? Let's see.

Inadequate Workload

For many, "organizational flexibility" rhymes with a 4-day week. As wonderful as it seems, this work mode must be well framed.

Employees working a 4-day week might feel increased pressure to accomplish as much work as in 5 days. This can lead to excessive workload and stress. Beware of burnout!

It is therefore important to clearly communicate to employees that moving to a 4-day week does not mean a reduction in performance and results expectations. However, it is possible to redefine expectations realistically to adapt to the new work time structure.

Impoverished Communication

Hybrid work can complicate communication within the company. Remote employees might miss important information exchanged in person, which can lead to misunderstandings and coordination gaps. Managers should be aware of the importance of sharing relevant information with the entire team, regardless of their location.

Use technological solutions to promote information sharing. For example, a tool like the Shared Services Center integrated into the SIGMA-RH SIRH allows centralizing essential information for employees, such as announcements, important documents, internal policies, and company updates.

Blurred Line Between Private and Professional Life

Working remotely can lead to a blurred line between work and personal life. Collaborators start earlier, finish later, and have difficulty disconnecting. Again, this can lead to excessive workload and burnout.

It is important to instill a culture of respect for boundaries. Raise awareness among company members about the importance of respecting personal and professional limits. Do not hesitate to establish clear policies on this subject. For example: reminding the right to disconnect and instituting a ban on sending emails over the weekend... even for executives!

Rigid Flexibility

Despite their good intentions, some companies are not ready to embrace flexibility. Ironically, they try to implement a flexible approach... in a too rigid manner.

For example? By advocating hybrid mode, but closely monitoring collaborators with surveillance software. Or by requiring them to follow a strict schedule from 9 am to 5 pm.

In this case, it is better to implement changes gradually. Test different approaches and collect feedback from collaborators and managers to adjust policies accordingly.

A Thoughtful and Flexible Approach

Organizations can fully benefit from the advantages of organizational flexibility. However, it must be kept in mind that the implementation of a flexible work mode requires a thoughtful and iterative approach.

How to proceed?

  • By involving collaborators,
  • By establishing clear guidelines,
  • By promoting communication
  • By regularly assessing results

Moreover, it is essential to provide collaborators with the tools and resources necessary to work effectively in hybrid mode. This can include setting up a solid technological infrastructure, such as laptops and online collaboration software.

Organizational flexibility offers undeniable benefits, but it requires thoughtful and evolving management. Certainly, this is a fascinating subject that encompasses a multitude of aspects related to the world of work and human resources.

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SIGMA-RH allows HR leaders to embody their strategic role thanks to a complete and flexible HRIS. It is a cloud-based platform consisting of five suites: Time, Talent, OHS, Labor Relations, and Administrative Management as the central pillar. This base allows integrating the suites and modules best suited to your HR challenges.

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