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#HR2017: What's on the Horizon for Workplace Flexibility in the Coming Year?

Author

Erin Ollila

More by Erin
Author

Erin Ollila

More by Erin

When it comes to programs for work flexibility in 2017, many organizations offer work from home opportunities to their employees. According to the 2016 ADP Employee Engagement Study, 51% of employees indicate they telecommute at least occasionally and 24% telecommute 5 days a week.

So is remote work the only way to offer versatility to employees? While telecommuting will likely continue to grow, there are other workplace flexibility options that employees might consider in 2017 to help employees manage personal and professional goals.

Offer Unlimited Vacation

According to Project: Time Off, 55 percent of employees didn't use all of their vacation days in 2015. The days of earned leave are quickly becoming out of touch, allowing for a more flexible approach in the form of unlimited time off to be used at the employee's discretion. Though, offering unlimited time off and promoting it are two different battles. Buffer, a social media optimization business, recognized this issue within their organization and created additional incentives in the form of monetary vacation bonuses to motivate their teams to take time to unwind and return refreshed.

Embrace Flexible Scheduling

With flexible scheduling, employees may be allowed to work whatever hours accommodate their own schedules. Consider allowing your employees flexibility in setting their own schedules and see if engagement improves. Research indicates it should have a positive effect: the 2016 ADP Employee Engagement Study found 63% of employees surveyed agree that having a flexible work arrangement (e.g., flexible work schedule, location) is very important. Drastic changes don't need to be made to allow for more work flexibility in 2017. You could simply give employees the option to work a 9/80 schedule.

Implement Education

All HR leaders want to see their employees succeed, and one way to encourage growth is by providing on-site educational programs. Employees who want to learn new skills or change careers might find it hard to do so while working full-time hours. You don't want to lose hardworking, dedicated employees, so why not build them up during the workday? To retain top talent, offer extended job training programs or in-house career transitions. Be flexible with responsibilities and nurture growth.

Foster CSR

According to the ADP Research Institute® report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce, 81 percent of employees feel positive about personally meaningful projects that impact society. So make it easier for employees to accomplish their goals of giving back by allowing them to do so during normal working hours. One way to accomplish this is by creating a separate paid time off bank and encouraging employees to use that time in ways that will benefit the community.

Focus on Team Performance and Growth

Give your employees the flexibility they need to be creative on team projects. That may mean someone in your technology department gets to work solely on one facet of a new program and not worry about other tasks usually assigned to them. It also means teams have to support each other, which starts with HR leaders and management promoting a culture of teamwork and honor in their organization.

Managers should pay close attention to the needs of their team members and encourage their continued growth within the organization. According to the 2016 ADP Employee Engagement Study, only 40% of employees surveyed feel their manager encourages and supports their development and only 29% feel that employee career development planning is a priority for their company.

While all these trends are expected to play a significant role in work flexibility in 2017, expect your recruiting and marketing departments to team up as well. Highlight the flexibility your organization offers to potential candidates. They're likely looking for organizations that recognize work-life balance and that give them more options than remote work.

Flexibility is only one part of the big picture. To learn more about how you can influence employee engagement across seven key areas, check out ADP's interactive Engagement Meter tool today.

Want to learn more about 2017's HR trends? See below for the other articles in our #HR2017 series:

#HR2017: What We Learned About Benefit Policies in 2016

#HR2017: Can't Miss Info About the FMLA

#HR2017: Don't Be Fooled By the Cost of the ACA This Year

#HR2017: What Last Year Taught Us About the ACA

#HR2017: Top Innovation Trends Coming This Year

#HR2017: Help Your Employees Achieve Their Health and Wellness Resolutions

#HR2017: Job Growth Patterns from 2016 Inform 2017's Outlook

#HR2017: Talent Acquisition Trends for 2017 — Tips to Attract Rock Stars