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Today more companies are embracing flexible work arrangements than ever before. According to Flex Index’s 2024 report, 65% of U.S. companies offer work location flexibility compared to just 35% of companies requiring employees full time on site. 

The most widely adopted flexible work model is structured hybrid work, which lets employees split their time between work and home following a predetermined schedule. In fact, the report finds that 32% of companies now embrace structured hybrid work, up 12 percentage points over last year.

These trends show a big shift in C-suite attitudes and policies around flexible work (or, flexwork for short) and for good reason. It’s been shown to boost productivity and savings for employers and employees alike. Yet despite the potential benefits of flexwork, many managers worry about losing control over processes and people who aren’t in sight. 

Flexwork’s biggest benefits

It’s been called the future of work and a cure for quiet quitting. That’s because flexwork humanizes work by recognizing an employee’s autonomy, value and personal life. But it also delivers significant returns for employers in  many ways. Chief among them are these three big gainers.

Retain talent: Employers seeking to attract and retain talented employees in a competitive job market may want to consider offering flexible work. One study found that the ability to work from home reduced churn by 35%. And, if given a choice, a McKinsey survey found that 87% of employees would choose a flexible work schedule. Even more, desire for flexible work is among the top three drivers for finding a new job, with employees viewing the ability to work remotely some of the time as equivalent to an 8% pay increase.

Increase productivity: Flexible work also helps boost productivity and morale several ways. For one, it helps employees save time and money on commuting costs, time that’s reinvested into work. Flexwork allows people to work more but more efficiently, with fewer distractions and more focused time, resulting in a productivity boost. Gartner research also shows that flexwork can help improve morale by demonstrating to employees that they are heard, understood, cared for and valued. This kind of personal validation leads to increased engagement and productivity because employees are invested in the organization. 

Major savings: Moreover, the savings associated with flexwork is win-win for employers and their teams. A landmark study by telework think tank Global Workplace Analytics found that remote work has the potential to save employers $11,000 a year in reduced absenteeism, turnover, utility costs, and increased productivity. Curbing the daily commute also saves individual employees up to $6,000 a year in various expenses such as gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, parking, and food and drink.  

Yet despite these benefits, flexwork is not without its challenges. Managers have to consider how they’ll get teams to collaborate when they’re not in the same room, set new communication expectations, and figure out not just how projects are completed but the timing and scheduling of deliverables in a work environment where some are working synchronously and others asynchronously.

The proven benefits of flexwork, along with workforce demand for it, makes it less a matter of whether to offer flexwork than how to implement it effectively.

If you can measure it, you can manage it

When it comes to hybrid work, “The number one question managers ask me is, how do I know they’re working?” said Robin Mack, a flexwork consultant with Georgia Commute Options, during a recent presentation to the Livable Buckhead Human Resource Council on overcoming hybrid workforce challenges.

“How do you know if they’re working when they’re in the office?” Mack laughs. The answer is simple: “You need to manage to results, not location.” 

She advises that managers focus on the quality of output no matter where employees are sitting. This is a matter of establishing performance standards that consider such things as timeliness, whether the work is completed on time; quality, how well it gets done; quantity, how much of it gets done; and priorities, how well the individual prioritizes what gets done.

In addition to setting standards, managers need to clearly communicate these expectations, including:   

  • Outlining goals/action plans;
  • Setting realistic deadlines;
  • Establishing priorities;
  • Measuring outcomes; and
  • Including staff in the discussion of those outcomes 

Hybrid work comes with a unique set of challenges. No matter how well performance expectations are laid out, issues will arise that will require managers to have difficult conversations. It’s important to communicate clearly and deal with issues as they arise as well as involving participants in creating a solution. 

Mack identified four common challenges among hybrid employees and offered these tips for turning the corner on conflict and supporting all teams to do their best work.

  1. Staff not reporting to the office: Business needs dictate in a hybrid program. Make sure that employees understand the need for accountability on presence. Make sure that attendance is documented. Talk to your employees and find out what is preventing them from coming into the office on required days.
  1. Handling disengaged employees: Have a practice of requiring camera-ready participation. Ask questions during meetings. Develop some fun activities based on team needs. Switch the environment to make engagement more enticing. Establish a culture of teamwork – be intentional with strategies that can help build team rapport and encourage engagement.
  1. Coworker resentment: If an employee is not allowed to be a hybrid worker, make sure that it’s either based on the job being essential, or the employee not meeting performance criteria. Other solutions such as flextime and compressed work weeks might be feasible for some essential tasks. Make sure you have flexible solutions for all employees. Use your commuter program to assist employees that aren’t eligible.
  1. Purposeful presence: When working from home, employees have uninterrupted time to do deep thinking and get more tasks completed. On days when they’re in the office, they have time and proximity that supports culture, mentorship, and collaboration. It’s important to provide opportunities for them to be effective and efficient in both scenarios. These strategies need to be planned. 

Flex for the future

Flexwork continues to grow for good reason but it’s not a self-regulating system; it needs to be managed with intentionality. Empowering team leaders to set clear performance measurements, communicate expectations and lean into difficult conversations are solid strategies that can help unlock the full potential of hybrid work.  

Eager to set up your hybrid program for success? Need training for your managers and teleworkers? Ready to schedule a meeting? The Georgia Commute Options flexwork consulting team has decades of experience in helping companies customize their remote and hybrid work programs to best suit their unique circumstance. 
Email us at You can also reach out to Robin Mack at 804-513-6946 or Elham Shirazi at 213-248-0030.

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