For your CEO & Executives: The Case for Work from Home and Flexible Working
Here is the case that gained many millions to build new call centres and transitioned thousands of employees to Work from Home.
Sharing it here in the hope it’ll be useful to you for gaining agreement to flexible work practices.
The business benefits associated with the flexible working Employee Value Proposition (EVP) include:
• Expanded access to a quality candidate pool
• Improved employee engagement, delivering a reduction in unplanned leave and attrition
• More efficient scheduling, reduced customer wait-times and the overall FTE requirement
• More reliable scheduling of development activities in the existing front-line environments
• Reduced real estate requirement
• An additional layer of BCP
• Improved ability to respond to changes in customer demand and preferences
Flexible Working enables a new and evolved EVP that appeals to a wider, more diverse talent pool providing flexibility, competence and longevity.
How we work and our relationship with the workplace is changing. With globalization and technology advancement it is becoming more common to work remotely or as part of virtual teams. The line between work and home life is becoming increasingly blurred. It is no longer about “how I can fit my life around my work” but now more about “how I can fit work into my life.”
The old paradigm -“I fit my life around work”
The new paradigm — “I fit work into my life”
In the old paradigm work is central to the employee’s identity providing an important source of social interaction, personal and professional development and life purpose. In the new paradigm something else is central to the employee’s life; this could be family, community work, sporting pursuits or acting as a primary carer. This other activity defines self-identity. Work then serves primarily as an enabler of this activity and supports a positive view of self.
To attract and retain employees under the old paradigm the business must deliver an EVP that provides career opportunity and professional development, regularly sign-posted by role expansion and salary growth. This EVP fits management and strategic leadership roles but is more challenging to deliver at the front line. This can be particularly true for service based industries that have a very flat management structure where the opportunity ratio* is very low. The recruitment message “Start your career with company X” mathematically cannot be delivered to most employees. When this recruitment promise is not delivered an enormous amount of energy is then needed to keep those employees engaged and in gear.
An alternative operating model is required for the front line. An operating model that supports a new recruitment promise based on the provision of flexible working arrangements that allows employees to manage their work life priorities.
*No. of career opportunities/no. of front line employees
The Flexible Working EVP
Underpinning the EVP and operating model for Flexible Working are the key questions of — Where do I work? When do I work? How do I work? What I do at work?
Where do I work?
• more contact time with family and friends
• reduced commute time
• the ability to pursue hobbies and interests
• lower work associated costs e.g. clothing, transport
• improved health and well-being, to incorporate healthy diet and exercise routines
When do I work?
• to work when it suits me
• the ability to work more hours, utilising micro shifts, and split shifts
• no wasted time commuting
• to increase and decrease hours based on other non-work commitments, to be able to select my hours without having to give too much notice
How do I work?
I am connected to:
• team mates
• support networks
• social networks
• the company
• the culture
What I do at work?
I choose to:
• vary what I do
• work where I add the most value
• work where I feel the most valued
Motivation and Engagement — From Extrinsic to Intrinsic
The flexible working operating models will be designed to reflect our evolving understanding of what motivates employees, this also forms an important part of the EVP. It is based on engaging the intrinsic motivators of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
• Greater control over where and when I work.
• More freedom to set up and personalise the work space (within OHS guidelines)
• Ability to self-manage. Access to reporting and tools to improve and monitor performance
• Phased training, fitting within lifestyle commitments
• Greater diversity and work choices
• Advanced management and support tools
• Easy access to face to face coaching and development via a hub
• Strong peer support networks
• A strong connection to the organisational purpose and culture via a virtual and physical hub
• A connection to team mates via multiple channels eg Slack, Yabber, eMail, Facebook, Office 365 and a hub
• Quality and performance management programs that recognise, celebrate and share success
Combining the Old with the New
The old paradigm remains relevant for many people and should continue to be offered, that is a fixed office based work schedule.
Flexible working provides the flexibility to cover the peaks in customer demand, which in-turn improves the schedule stability for fixed employees who cover the bulk of the day, enabling:
• Regular hours
• Improved planning
• Reliable scheduling of development and team activity
The chart below is an example of how workload can be distributed between flexible and fixed roster employees.
Role Variation as a Strategic Enabler
Customer behavior is changing, they wish to move effortlessly and seamlessly between channels. This creates a structural need to erode tradition channel silos and build a distribution ecosystem that is channel agnostic.
Flexible working enables the front-line to be deployed dynamically to where customers choose to be, whether that be in store, online or on the phones. Creating opportunities to vary not just “where and when I work” but also “what I do” empowers our employee to genuinely design their own work experience. Role variation provides a unique and highly competitive dimension to the EVP and it enhances the businesses resilience to uncertainty.
I’m interested to hear how you go. Contact me if you require more context / support to gain internal agreement.