With more tools available to professionals today, it can be hard to imagine a world without flexible working options.
Smartphones have provided employees with an entire suite of unified communications modules – from voice, text, and video – right in the palm of their hand. Employees have never been more empowered to customize their work environment to best meet their needs. The desire for flexibility is far from new. Just think of Summer Fridays – the benefit some companies offer with shorter hours. Before technology cut the tether to the desk, employees at many companies were given the freedom to get an early start to the weekend and enjoy the nice weather with Summer Fridays in place. As we celebrate the official start of summer this week, it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come in our ability to not only make the most of the summer months, but take further control of how we work year-round.
Between Memorial Day, Fourth of July, beach trips, family reunions, or whatever gets you OOO between May and September, the summer season serves as a poster child for why flexible work options are needed. Whether it is working from home on a Friday before a long weekend, or coming in early so you can trade an extra hour to enjoy lunch outside, there’s ample opportunity to embrace the flexible work lifestyle. However, this relaxed attitude epitomized during the summer months isn’t the exception – it’s now the rule. According to Fuze’s recent study, “Breaking Barriers 2020: How CIOs are Shaping the Future of Work,” working from home appeals to the majority (85 percent) of employees and 83 percent of those polled believe that they don’t need to be in the office to be productive. This demonstrates a shifting attitude among employees that traditional offices are not necessary for success.
That being said, the office certainly isn’t going anywhere. Our report also revealed that 86 percent of current employees say face-to-face interaction will always be important. These figures reflect how the rise of mobile work technology is blurring the lines. Employees want the best of both worlds: the flexibility to find their own work/life balance as well as the hub that fosters vital in-person collaboration. It certainly presents an interesting scenario for organizational leaders who need to navigate these changing expectations – particularly the old guard who still rely on traditional communications structure.
The faster the c-suite embraces flexibility as a core tenant of the Future of Work – the better. In just a few short years the flood gates will open and the “App Generation” will be become a dominant part of the applicant pool. These digital natives will be looking for opportunities that allow them to work the best way they know how – on the go, via their mobile. In the meantime, businesses can prepare by following the example set by summer flexibility, and learning how to apply that model regardless of season. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing out on top-tier talent 365-days a year.
We here at Fuze have already taken steps to enable our employees to embrace this duality. Read about our new Boston Hub and “Work From Anywhere” policy here.