Your F.A.T. Work Environment – Part 3 – Flexibility Is Attractive to All Generations of Employees

Skip Weisman, Professional Speaker, Certified Great Game of Business Coach & Author

Earlier this week I met with a client.  She’s a mid-level manager who has hired me to train her company’s “high-potential” up and coming leaders on my “7 Deadliest Workplace Communication SINs.”

She told me that her company, with 800+ employees is starting to require all pandemic inspired remote workers to come back to the office full-time. She was disappointed in this edict from the top of the organization and had heard many others were also.

This is a mistake.

I’m not much of a futurist, but maybe for this I should be, because…

We are solidly now in the 3rd decade of the 21st Century, the most important workplace trait is going to be the first trait in the F.A.T. Work Environment model, FLEXIBILITY!

You see, about 5 years ago a client asked me to create a half-day workshop for their company leaders and middle-managers on “managing millennials.”

I found the challenging fascinating and the conversation with this client’s current and aspiring leaders even more fascinating.

I put the 50 or so participants in small groups to discuss the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of managing the younger generation in the workplace. Which, we learned in the discussion, the millennial generation was not all that young anymore.

What also came out as a revelation to all (but not me) was that all the things they liked about millennials, that they brought to the workplace, as well as the things millennials brought that detracted from the workplace, could also be found in other generations.

One of the key desires of millennials was a more flexible work environment. The desire included being able to work when they wanted to work and to not be so tied to the 9-5 and to be able to have time for personal needs without having to always ask permission for time off, etc.

When I asked the group of Gen Xs and Baby Boomers in the audience that day, “who else would like to have a more flexible work schedule to get personal things done without the need to ask permission for time off,” every hand went in the air.

A more flexible work environment is not an asset that will just recruit and retain millennials. It can be a difference maker for the baby boomers whom you would like to keep their industry and institutional knowledge around, and the Gen Xers and Millennials who are the majority of your workforce now. And, it is going to be a requirement for the Generation Z employees who are now coming into the workforce.

Flexibility in your workplace can be a differentiator when it comes to recruit and retaining the best talent. BUT, you better get ahead of the curve because soon it will just be table stakes as the rest of the business world figures it out.

Too many companies are shooting themselves in the foot as the pandemic begins to open up the economy again. Companies who survived and even thrived during the pandemic when they adjusted to the need for a remote and flexible work environment, are now requiring employees to come back on site, for no discernible reason other than to justify the office space they’ve invested in.

So my question for you to ponder is this…

  • What could your flexible work environment look like?
  • What positions can have flexibility?
  • How can you make the positions you think can’t have flexibility, to have more flexibility?
  • Who in your company can you get together to brainstorm creative ways to create a more flexible workplace?

Just in case you missed it and would like to get an overview of the F.A.T. Work Environment concept, feel free to click the link to view the webinar from last month.
(F.A.T. Work Environment Webinar here)

In the meantime, take this opportunity to evaluate the level of Flexibility, Accountability and Transparency in your workplace as it relates to your employees’ work experience.

Grade each three on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being virtually non-existent, and 10 being ideal and can’t get any better.

Then, look forward to the next article where I’ll explore deeper the concept of workplace Flexibility.

If you’d like to accelerate your workplace transformation and explore the possibilities to create your own F.A.T. Work Environment, let’s jump on a brief intro call so to explore your specific situation. If that is appealing to you use this link

’til next time,

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