The rise of radical flexibility and hybrid workforces
COVID-19 proved to be the nail in the coffin for workplace presenteeism. As employees settled into their home offices, the lines between personal and professional began to blur. Over time, the notion of a strict 9-to-5 has been replaced with radical flexibility, giving employees control over when, where, and how much they work. But it's not all roses and rainbows, there's a lot of work to be done to underpin the success of flexible working schemes.
Business benefits of remote working
The continuation of flexible and remote working promises a number of business benefits. According to Microsoft, more than 70% of workers want flexible options to continue, while Harvard Business Review reports that organizations that offer flexible working count 55% of their employees as high performers, compared to just 36% of employees at organizations with a standard 40-hour workweek.
However, businesses seeking to implement long-term flexible working have a number of challenges to overcome. The success of long-term remote working depends on the ability of the business to provide the tools needed to maintain connectivity and productivity away from the office.
How to fuel a positive culture for remote workers
Even under normal working conditions, cultivating a positive culture is both a challenge and a priority. Remote work can add an additional layer of complexity because it’s more difficult for dispersed workforces to unite under one vision. Paired with proper strategy and open lines of communication, the right set of digital tools can fuel a positive culture that boosts employee satisfaction and encourages every user to reach peak performance.
The only way is digital
When your people aren’t working at the same time or in the same place, is it possible to maintain connectivity and engagement? In years past, the answer would have likely been no. However, technological advancements, combined with the biggest remote work experiment we didn't know we were about to take part in, have opened up a world of opportunity for enterprises around the globe. But for remote work to really work, enterprises must invest in the tools and strategies to support a redefined workforce. Consequently, nearly 70% of respondents agree that C-level executives have become more involved in the digital workplace since COVID-19 according to Gartner.
Digital strategy will continue to take center stage as employees return to the corporate headquarters and the hybrid office fully takes shape. With the office becoming an option, enterprises now need a digital space for employees to connect more than ever before. Employee experience platforms, an evolution of the intranet designed to overcome the engagement and communications challenges associated with telecommuting, are positioned to play a key role in supporting the transition to more flexible, employee-centric ways of working.
Insider insights: how Cathay Pacific is supporting flexible work
As we move towards a flexible working future, we usher in an era of intense learning and experimentation. The new workplace will be different and the workforce operating in it will have vastly different needs and expectations.
Enterprises across the globe have been trialing strategies to manage the challenges associated with operating in a work-from-anywhere world. Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag-carrying airline, is one such organization. Having recently been commended for launching one of the ten best employee experience solutions in the world, there is a lot we can learn from Cathay Pacific's digital strategy for engaging employees in a disrupted workplace.
Recognizing the increased demand for workplace flexibility, Cathay Pacific debuted "Work Your Way", their own scheme. In addition to outlining how flexible working works, Work Your Way provides extensive support to employees who are making their own transition. Some of their best practices include:
Cathay pacific: launching an award-winning mobile intranet
Discover how Cathay Pacific launched a mobile-first intranet that has underpinned more flexible ways of working and earned them top honors at Nielsen Norman.
#1. Show employees why flexible working works
Some employees may be concerned about the impact flexible working schemes will have on personal productivity and their team’s performance as a whole. Assuage these doubts by creating resources that highlight the benefits associated with flexible working.
Cathay Pacific’s “Work Your Way” page includes featured videos of employees explaining why they chose the scheme and how it has worked for them. This anecdotal content can help colleagues learn more about the ins and outs of flexible working and make a decision about whether or not it is right for them.
#2. Smooth the transition period
Like any other change, your employees will need support and guidance as they embrace more flexible work habits. To ease the transition, Cathay Pacific created helpful articles that detail how to get started with flexible working, tips for being productive, and resources for mental health support. The enterprise also created learning materials, including guidance for managers, highlighted training, and external resources.
Engaging employees through change
In the fourth installment of the Unily podcast, Paul Seda welcomes regulars Kaitlin Auriemma, Kaz Hassan, and Matthew Boyd, along with ‘the hardest working man in intranets’, Glen Chambers, to discuss engaging employees through periods of change. Keep your eyes peeled for an unexpected guest appearance by Michael Pike as well, who proves that the work from anywhere model really is alive and kicking at Unily!
#3. Streamline the application process
If you want to encourage your people to take advantage of flexible working policies, make sure it’s easy to learn more about how your scheme works and the steps needed to get involved.
When Cathay Pacific launched their flexible working scheme, they created a page on The Hub that gives employees all the information they are looking for. Team members can then submit an application to the scheme online, without having to download any PDFs or email the HR department. There’s also a link to the policy included, so that employees can read about the details before hitting submit.
#4. Answer every question
Even with ample support resources, your employees are bound to have questions about how your flexible work scheme functions and what they can expect when signing on. Rather than relying solely on one channel, provide your teams with several different outlets to get their questions answered.
“Work Your Way” includes FAQs, which spotlight several frequently asked questions. If employees don’t see the information they are looking for, they can turn to Hana, Cathay Pacific’s chatbot, for additional insights. Users type their questions into Hana and the bot presents answers or directs them to their HR Business Partner for additional information.
#5. Provide quick access to technical support
Your employees might have questions about their workplace technology or require some assistance while getting up to speed with flexible working. Instead of placing the burden on employees to search for the best point of contact, centralize the relevant IT resources so your team can readily take advantage of them. Cathay Pacific’s flexible working page includes links to different options for IT support, depending on what users are looking for.
Are you ready to launch your own flexible working scheme?
Radical flexibility is becoming a hallmark of future-proof enterprises. If you’re looking to leverage an employee experience platform to build your own flexible working scheme, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.