For the past two years, the outbreak of Covid-19 has driven many businesses to be flexible in how they navigate their employees and resources. The most apparent advantage of this structure, whether it’s allocating flexible hours in the office or working from home, is that it safeguards the health of all parties in the company.
Furthermore, companies that have adapted a flexible work routine are better prepared to deal with future crises. But that's not all - many businesses have reaped financial benefits from a flexible workforce as well.
The cost benefits of a flexible workforce
1. Rent and utilities
Working from home eliminates the need for a large office space, saving the overhead and rental costs. Try exploring the possibility of a virtual office, which provides businesses with all the perks of having a space of your own - minus the fees.
2. Office maintenance
The cost of office maintenance such as cleaning services, pantry supplies, tech support, and renovation will be significantly reduced with fewer people on-site. If your company is well-suited to transition online in full, this might even eliminate the need for an office space entirely. Co-working spaces have become increasingly popular in today’s work culture and might be worth exploring.
A company's taxes are determined by three main factors: payroll, sales, and property. Making changes to accommodate remote or flexible workers may have a positive impact on your tax rates. For instance, you could save costs by hiring a skilled part-time worker who could get the job done just as well as a full-time worker.
Pros and cons of a flexible workforce
All these benefits contribute to the growing number of businesses that have implemented permanent flexible working policies for their employees. With that being said, what exactly constitutes a flexible workforce in the first place?
A flexible workforce may look different for each industry. In general, some common themes that tie them together are the ability to work independently, with few fixed working hours, and the capacity to work anywhere at any time.
Needless to say, nothing comes without pros and cons. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of switching to a flexible workforce before you make a final decision.
Whether or not a flexible workforce is the right move is no easy decision to be made. The transition to a flexible workforce is a unique challenge in and of itself, with challenges such as adequate resources and strategies to be considered before such a transition can be made.
Ensuring a smooth transition to a flexible workforce
1. Ensure that everyone is on board with it
Make sure this is not a one man decision, and that it’s a collective decision between you and your team. Everyone must see the benefits of this move in order for it to be successful and mitigate employees, stakeholders and key players of the company from making an exit.
2. Make an exit plan, just in case
Speaking of exits, you must have a well-thought-out strategy in place in the event that things go wrong. The pandemic taught us a lot about being adaptable, and the same principle applies here.
3. Provide resources for your team
A flexible workforce requires a number of resources in order to function properly. Ensure that your team members are all equipped with the essential technologies, software, and gadgets to carry out their duties in non-traditional settings such as home or co-working spaces.
4. Prioritise training
A new structure requires new techniques to work efficiently, so a simple PowerPoint presentation outlining how things will be different in the company might not suffice. To ensure that your team is fully prepared to face the challenges of a new working environment, adequate training in preparation of making the big move will pay off well in helping everyone get up to speed.
So, is a flexible workforce right for your company? Well, how willing and adaptable is your team towards such a change? Could they combat the challenges of a flexible work setting? Your answer should be rooted in these questions.
If your company is all in on the idea of taking a more flexible approach but held back by the lack of necessary training, our corporate programs can help.