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A more flexible company culture sounds tempting, but some business owners fear it’s too good to be true. Here, we address their concerns
Far too often, we’re inundated with lifestyle gurus and influencers claiming to have discovered the secret to balancing work and life. Or the silver bullet solution to running a business from their laptop as they sip a beer by the pool in Bali. And increasingly, we’re losing faith in the validity of these claims, dismissing them as social media hype rather than a viable option for 99% of the global population.
But there is, of course, a happy medium. Finding tangible ways to introduce a flexible working culture into your business is a step in the right direction towards a better work-life balance for you and your team. But flexible working can get tarnished with the same “unrealistic” brush as the hype bandits, which often puts business leaders off the idea.
In essence, flexible working is about taking a more intuitive approach to our working lives. It encompasses remote working, the option of flexible hours or part-time roles, and/or renting flexible office space (flexspace) – which offers a more bespoke way of leasing workspace, compared to the “one-size-fits-all” conventional office space. A business may opt for one or all of these elements.
Flexible working is already growing in momentum. IWG (which owns Regus) found 50% of global employees now work outside of their main offices for at least 2.5 days per week. And an increasing number of companies around the world are introducing flexible working policies into their operations – according to the 2019 Global Workspace Survey from IWG, 62% of business interviewed now have one.
So, what’s stopping everyone from making the leap from commuting, the 9 to 5 working day and the traditional office space to something more flexible? Overall, there seem to be three main areas for concern.
The first overarching reason some business leaders hesitate to adopt a more flexible working culture is the fear that it will impact productivity. If employees work remotely, how likely is it that they’ll be less productive? Will they slack off if they’re given the choice to work extra hours?
IWG’s findings reveal it’s quite the opposite. In the 2019 Global Workspace survey, 85% of respondents confirmed that productivity increased as a result of greater flexibility. By hiring talented employees, building trust, and empowering them to work in a way that allows them to better manage their lives, makes them more able to get their jobs done effectively. And flexibility is a two-way street. Teams feel encouraged to work hard when they’re respected enough to manage their own workload and time.
Another reason many business leaders turn away from flexible working is to do with infrastructure. What if the remote server isn’t secure enough to prevent company data from being hacked? What if moving into a flexspace proves too noisy and distracting for the team? Will the facilities of the same professional standard as the status quo?
In terms of cybersecurity, the help of an IT specialist will minimise the risk of a hacking incident. And flexspace brands like Regus offer private interview rooms and exclusive office space to guarantee privacy and quiet time – as well as the benefits of a staffed reception, and cleaning and maintenance taken care of. Plus, when a change of scene is desired, the social spaces are still there. Either way, the leading flexspace brands typically offer more design-centric, newer, and more inspiring office spaces than their conventional office counterparts.
Finally, business leaders resist opting for flexible working – and flexspace specifically – over the fear it will cost more money. But in fact, the flexspace model is built around efficiency, using no more time, space, resources or money than you need to run your business. Scale up or down as demand dictates, and enjoy the luxury of a shorter lease over the traditional 10-year contract. With a range of packages to choose from, businesses can select what makes the most sense for them, and adjust accordingly as their company’s situation changes.