In 2020 we saw our world change in ways we would never expect. The coronavirus has transformed the way we live and work. Employers have had to dramatically adjust their procedures to ensure the safety of their employees as well as the success of their business.
Flexible work arrangements that were once considered ‘too hard’ or ‘not feasible’ have now become the new norm of working life.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, flexible work arrangements were only made in special circumstances. Now almost every office has employees working from home or away from the office in some capacity.
What is ‘flexism’?
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding flexible work arrangements that suggest it will negatively affect productivity and the arrangements are there to help the individual rather than the company.
The term ‘flexism’ has been used to describe the stigma relating to a person’s working status. Flexism has previously resulted in many employees not feeling comfortable to ask for flexible work arrangements, fearing that they may come across as lazy or not a team player.
This belief that flexible work arrangements are only for individual benefits is completely unfounded. In fact, many studies have proven that companies that offer work arrangements such as working from home, flexible hours and job sharing can improve the overall success of the business.
Why do we need flexible work?
Employers that promote flexible work arrangements can expect improved productivity, efficiency, creativity, engagement, and retention.
Importantly, flexible work arrangements create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. It allows people with a disability, injury, or mental health condition the opportunity to gain positions they wouldn’t usually be able to attain due to circumstances outside their control.
Working from home can help people with disability as it reduces the risk of exhaustion in getting to and from the office, sensory overload issues, and ensures occupational health and safety. By reducing these risks, the employee has more energy and time to focus on producing the best work they can.
Flexible work in 2021 is the way of the future
Now that many businesses have successfully implemented flexible work arrangements in 2020, they no longer have an excuse not to continue these measures in 2021.
Creator of Flexible Working Day, Vanessa Vanerhouk, believes that flexible work is the way of the future and that businesses need to continue this trend to succeed.
“The modern business understands that flexibility is much more than accommodation for parents. It is a strategy that benefits your business, people, and the world around us. It also enables a competitive business edge of ‘flexagility’ – the ability to adapt quickly and easily to meet opportunities in the ever-changing world,” says Vanessa.
If employees have continued to produce great work under the new working arrangements, then they should be allowed to continue to thrive in their chosen setting. No longer does the work environment need to be bound by the four walls of an office. Employers need to embrace this new normal and allow their employee the freedom to succeed in their roles.
How can employers embrace flexible work?
There’s more to flexible work than just working from home. Here are some other types of flexible work arrangements that can be implemented to support your employees to maintain a healthy and productive work-life balance.
Some people with disability are unable to work full-time job hours. Employing two part-time staff to share one full-time position ensures that all the work is completed whilst opening the doors of opportunity to many people who wouldn’t usually be given a chance to succeed.
Compressed work weeks
A compressed workweek is where employees work full-time hours in less than 5 days. This is incredibly beneficial for people who need to attend different weekly therapy or doctor appointments.
Teleworking is where employees work from home or another location during their working week. This is great for people who struggle to find accessible transport to work or need access to modifications or technologies they already have set up in their homes.
Flexible working hours
Flexible working hours is where employees start or finish at various times. This can help accommodate employees who need to attend therapy and doctor appointments that are only available during working hours.
Flexible rostering or split shifts can help employees who need to attend an appointment during the day. It also allows employees who can only work for shorter periods of time or need longer rest breaks to re-energise properly whilst still working fulltime hours.
How EPIC can help
For over 30 years EPIC Assist has been helping people with a disability, injury, health condition, or mental health condition find a job they love and can thrive in. Along with helping our participants find meaningful employment we also work closely with the employers to ensure that they are equipped with the right knowledge to guarantee their employees feel supported and safe.
If you think that you could benefit from our disability employment services, get in touch with us today.