Flexibility at Work: Benefits for Deskless Employees

Flexible Working Benefits for Deskless Employees

Flexible Working Benefits for Deskless Employees

Last updated on April 23, 2024 at 12:44 pm

The world is changing rapidly, and so is the way we work. With advancements in technology and a global shift towards remote work, traditional office-based jobs are no longer the only option. As more companies embrace flexibility in their working arrangements, deskless employees (those who do not have a fixed desk/workspace) are also reaping the benefits. From field workers to retail staff to healthcare professionals, these employees often have different needs compared to their desk-bound counterparts. In this blog post, we will explore how flexible working benefits can positively impact deskless employees and why it should be considered as an essential part of any modern workplace strategy. 

Also Read: Tips to Create a Positive Work Environment for Deskless Employees

What Are Flexible Working Arrangements?

Flexible working arrangements refer to alternative work schedules or setups that allow employees to have greater control over when, where, and how they work. These arrangements can include options such as remote work, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, job sharing, and part-time schedules, among others. The goal of flexible working arrangements is to promote work-life balance, increase productivity, and accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of employees.

Benefits of Flexible Working for Deskless Employees

The following are the advantages associated with flexible working practices for the deskless workforce:

Improved Work-Life Balance

Deskless work often imposes inflexible schedules, leaving little room for personal responsibilities or appointments and contributing to work-related stress among personnel. However, flexible working practices can alleviate this strain by accommodating tasks such as childcare, errands, and healthcare appointments. By allowing employees to better manage their personal and professional lives, flexible arrangements promote a more balanced lifestyle, reducing stress and the risk of burnout.

Increased Employee Satisfaction

Employees operating under flexible conditions tend to feel valued and experience higher morale. The implementation of flexible working practices signals to employees that their well-being is a priority for the organization, fostering a positive work environment. This boost in morale not only enhances employee satisfaction but also leads to increased loyalty and reduced rates of burnout, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of life for personnel.

Also Read: 10 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Morale in High-Stress Environments

Potential Productivity Boost

Flexible work schedules enable employees to align their work hours with their peak energy and productivity levels. By accommodating individual preferences, such as early birds preferring to start and finish work earlier or night owls functioning better in the afternoon and evening, managers can optimize productivity. This alignment of schedules ensures that employees can work when they are most productive, leading to increased efficiency and output.

Reduced Absenteeism

Flexible working practices help mitigate unplanned absenteeism by providing employees with the flexibility to manage personal tasks without disrupting their work commitments. By minimizing disruptions and ensuring adequate staffing levels, flexible arrangements contribute to improved productivity and product quality. Moreover, the availability of flexible work options enhances retention rates and attracts top talent, as flexibility is increasingly valued by employees and organizations alike. According to a Harvard Business Review analysis, 27% of Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) reported a positive impact on mental health from offering flexible work arrangements, highlighting its significance in fostering a healthier and more engaged workforce.

Also Read: Innovative Tools and Technologies for Enhancing Frontline Employee Operations

Creative Flexible Working Solutions for Deskless Roles

There are numerous creative options for flexible working practices that could be employed for deskless staff members.

Schedule Flexibility

  1. Compressed workweeks: These necessitate staff to work more hours in a few days so they can receive extended time off. For example, working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
  2. Split shifts: Scheduling shifts around personal commitments, such as school hours or caregiving responsibilities. This could involve working a morning shift, taking a break, and then returning for an evening shift.
  3. Job-sharing arrangements: Enabling two employees to share the responsibilities of a single role involves splitting the workload and schedules. This can be particularly useful for roles with extended or unconventional hours.

Location Flexibility

  1. Designated work hubs: Set up coworking spaces near the employees’ residences to shorten commute times. Such an approach allows companies to speed up the deployment of their field technicians or service professionals who have to commute to various job sites. 
  2. Mobile technology: Technology plays a significant role in improving frontline worker productivity. You must provide staff with the appropriate technology, like laptops, tablets, or a mobile application, that enables them to communicate easily, complete tasks, and access business resources remotely or offline.

Time Flexibility

  1. Core working hours: Core working hours establish mandatory times when all employees are required to be present, while also allowing for flextime to accommodate personal preferences regarding shift start and end times. This approach balances the need for consistent coverage with employees’ flexibility in managing their schedules. 
  2. Paid time off banks: Paid time off banks provide employees with access to a designated pool of leave that can be used for various personal needs without depleting their earned allowance. This flexibility is vital for individuals who may require time off for appointments, emergencies, or personal reasons. 
Also Read: The Role of Training and Development in Streamlining Frontline Operations

Implementing Flexible Work for Deskless Teams

Let’s explore some key considerations for implementing flexible working practices for deskless teams:

Clear Communication and Setting Expectations

In implementing flexible work arrangements for deskless teams, effective communication and setting realistic expectations are paramount. Operational managers must provide clear guidance regarding work standards, availability requirements, and reporting protocols to ensure the smooth functioning of operations and adherence to organizational standards.

Technology Solutions for Collaboration and Task Management

Utilizing technology solutions is essential for facilitating collaboration and task management among deskless teams operating under flexible work arrangements. Project management tools and applications enable task delegation, progress tracking, and deadline management, while communication platforms facilitate real-time communication and feedback, fostering team cohesion regardless of geographical dispersion.

Trust and Accountability

Creating a conducive environment of trust and accountability is crucial for the successful implementation of flexible work arrangements for deskless teams. Granting employees autonomy and trusting their ability to manage their workload independently is key. However, maintaining clear performance metrics and conducting regular follow-ups ensures accountability, safeguarding productivity and quality standards. This balanced approach fosters a culture of responsibility and empowers employees to thrive in a flexible work environment.

Also Read: The Situation: Supporting a Mobile Workforce With the Right Channels

Overcoming Challenges

Although implementing flexible working practices can achieve the above benefits and more, there are various challenges that one may encounter unless addressed beforehand:

Fairness and workload distribution:

Concerns regarding fairness and equitable workload distribution can be addressed by ensuring that all processes and guidelines are transparent. One may develop a robust task allocation system that takes into account members’ preferences and abilities, to ensure workload fairness and balance. In addition, regular reviews and open communication channels address any perceived injustice. 

Team coordination:

Strategies like effective communication and coordination in the field become even more important as different schedules and work locations make things a bit more complex. Create other protocols like team meetings, project handovers, and synchronous collaboration to maintain the operational efficiency. Furthermore, a set of essential hours or a specific period during which all members must be available or have overlapping schedules will encourage team members to attempt real-time collaboration or decision-making. Team meetings, whether virtual or in person, should also be scheduled regularly.

Also Read: Innovative Tools and Technologies for Enhancing Frontline Employee Operations

Let’s Sum Up

Embracing flexible working arrangements for deskless employees not only fosters a culture of trust and empowerment but also yields tangible benefits for both employees and employers alike. By prioritizing flexibility, organizations can enhance employee satisfaction, improve productivity, reduce turnover, and ultimately create a more adaptable and resilient workforce. As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of work, investing in flexible work solutions for deskless workers proves to be not just advantageous, but essential for driving success in the modern workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can companies make deskless employees accountable and productive when provided with flexible work options?

Setting clear performance metrics and communication guidelines helps achieve accountability while using technology to track tasks and progress, which makes deskless employees more productive.

Do flexible working practices increase job satisfaction?

Absolutely, feeling in control of your schedule fosters a sense of empowerment and value, which in turn increases job satisfaction.

What are the financial benefits for employees with flexible work?

Employees with flexible work arrangements can experience various financial benefits, including savings on commuting costs, reduced expenses related to work attire and meals, potential tax deductions for home office expenses, and increased opportunities for supplemental income through side gigs or freelance work.

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