Behere founders Thomas Maher and Meesen Brown are helping companies prepare for the future of work. Learn more about Behere, how they’re shaping the future of work, and helping meet the needs of the next generation workforce.
The workplace is shifting from the typical 9-5
The modern workplace is shifting away from the typical, corporate, 9-5 office and young workers are demanding flexibility. This leaves many companies wondering how the changes will affect them. As millennials become the largest group in the workforce, they embrace technology and the benefits of remote work, including commuting less and having better work-life balance (really work-life integration). The archaic idea that everyone must be in the same office to get work done is on its way out, and more companies are realizing that benefits lie in retaining and attracting top talent, and stimulating employees in more productive and creative environments than their offices.
Flexibility is a top work perk for millennials
Work-life balance and flexibility are the most important work perks that millennial job-seekers are pursuing in today’s market. Most workers have even stated they would rather have flexibility than a raise. While some companies try to answer with the offer of unlimited vacation days, research shows that millennials aren’t taking them all, due to guilt or desire to demonstrate total commitment to their job. Workers are adamant that employers need to go beyond perks like unlimited vacation days, and the younger generations, with prevalent entrepreneurial spirits, are demanding more.
Work-life integration is the new norm
If the benefits of flexibility, like increased productivity and a larger labor pool, are clear, why are so many companies hesitant to jump on board? The work day rarely ends at 5pm, so most employees are expected to be connected and flexible. With constant connectivity through email and social on mobile devices, organizations want employees to check-in, even when outside of the office. Companies should be promoting this flexibility to employees and future hires as a perk, not an inconvenience, by making that added effort worth their time. Most executive teams understand this requires some give and take on both sides, and creating incentive and benefit programs that go to the next level will most certainly pay off.
Industry leaders are showing us how to prepare for the future of work
While some companies are behind the curve in offering flexible programs, others are looking to facilitate the movement. Most recently, Airbnb and WeWorkhave teamed up to offer shared work spaces for travellers. Details have yet to be announced by the partnership, but it seems travellers who have booked accommodation through Airbnb for travel, can also book a desk or conference room through the shared workspace company WeWork. Now valued at $20 billion, WeWork is the perfect example of how the industry is developing and accommodating remote work.
These companies are at the forefront of flexible policies
Companies, like Netflix, are focusing on achievements rather than keeping employees at their desks. Those that hire telecommuters often grow much faster, as they have the option to hire outside the local labor pool. Companies ready to embrace the change and add perks for their employees are also creating partnerships with companies like Behere. These partnerships allow employees to gain experiences and inspiration while traveling which they can bring back to their company. It’s not just sending your employees on vacation; it’s boosting productivity and creativity, and provides a reset that decreases burn-outs. Providing these perks increases company engagement as employees feel appreciation of their organization, reduces overhead and encourages professional development and collaboration.
Currently, at Dell, 25% of the workforce have a flexible schedule and can regularly work from a remote location. By 2020 Steve Price, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, hopes to make that 50%. Embracing flexibility has payed off for Dell, with $21 million in savings since 2013 in real estate costs, and 93% of employees stating that flexibility helps them to be successful.
PepsiCo started their ‘One Simple Thing’ initiative to encourage employees to build flexibility around whatever they’re passionate about. Pepsi Co Australia & New Zealand CEO, Robert Rietbroek stated the benefits flexible work has had for them. “We are able to tap into broader talent pools, where people are seeking flexibility, as well as enjoy the retention of critical and diverse talent, which we see as a competitive advantage,” he continued. “When it comes to the bottom line, we know it works because we’ve seen sustained business results.”
To stay competitive, flexibility is a necessity
Demonstrating just how necessary updated workplace practices are becoming in the workforce, Melanie Collins, Global Head of People Partners at Dropbox reiterated the sentiment: “Flexibility is increasingly more important in the value proposition for recruiting…It’s what folks are looking for, and what we need to do to be more competitive”. Collins also stated the benefits are more than monetary, “We’ve found when employees are given flexibility, they are more highly engaged”.
‘Fun and trendy’ workplace perks aren’t enough
Companies are also trying to move away from attempting to look “fun” and “cool” as they reevaluate their hiring strategies. Recruiters realize that an extra foosball table isn’t going to attract top talent. Real benefits like understanding work-life balance are at the forefront of workplace development. “Flexibility will become the norm for employers who want to win the war on talent,” Joanna Barsh, director emerita for McKinsey & Company tells Fast Company.
Flexibility creates better opportunities for equality
Not to be overlooked, flexible work programs also have an impact on equality. Through flexible work opportunities, women, or other commonly prejudiced demographics, can choose the role, company, and lifestyle that matches their goals, regardless of age, geographic location, or familial status. Employers that implement flexible work policies and invest in women will see the benefits through their employees and businesses.
Adapting to the changing workforce can be daunting for employers, but it should be considered part of their strategy going forward. In the early stages, companies need to train remote workers, measure success, and establish tools of communication. Taking flexibility programs to the next level to remain competitive and attract talent is the key to success in a market that is quickly developing and cultivating the next generation of the workspace.
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Written By Katie Tatham; freelance writer, content creator, traveller and breakfast lover.