How flexible working conditions make for happier staff

Work flexibility is an increasingly important factor for employees. Companies that go out of their way to make life easier for their staff can be rewarded with better staff retention and attracting better talent.

People’s lives do not revolve around work. Sometimes people will have errands that they need to run during work hours. It is better to let your staff take a few hours off rather than forcing them to use a day of annual leave. Employees are willing to work harder for companies that value them and their time.

Flexible hours

Some companies even allow staff with children the ability to work around their pickup/drop off times. This may include starting earlier and leaving earlier, or starting and finishing later. Staff appreciate the ability to avoid traffic or after school care fees and the ability to do other things during the day.

Dogs in the workplace

One thing that is becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst trendier workplaces is the ability to bring your dog to work. This extends beyond the annual ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’ that some companies participate in.

Nathan Elly runs a digital marketing agency in South Melbourne. He allows his staff to bring dogs to the office as often as they like. ‘This is good for both the staff and the dogs. Dogs can get lonely and anxious at home by themselves. It allows dogs to become more social with other dogs and people.’ His staff find that the dogs keep everyone in a good mood and are not too distracting.

dog-in-workplace

Whilst not all workplaces are ideal for dogs, office buildings can be a great environment so long as the dogs are allowed outside to use the bathroom. Nathan says ‘Although we only ever had 2-3 dogs in the office at any given time, none of them bark and only one of them has ever made a mess on the floor. Some of our staff don’t have suitable enough living arrangements to own a dog, so they love it when the dogs are here. The rare clean up is worth it for the joy they bring our team.’

Invest in good technology

In can be tempting to buy your staff the cheapest products possible. Whilst this might look cheap on paper, it might make it harder for people to do their jobs. For example, some companies will continue buying the same model of laptop for their staff for many years in a row, replacing the same slow computer with a new slow computer. Other companies might not even buy laptops for their staff, making it harder for teams to collaborate, hold meetings and work from home.

Work from home days

Weekly or monthly work from home days are also a great way to allow staff to be present for tradespeople, accept deliveries and visit short appointments with their local specialists and run errands.

Many staff claim that they get more done when they work from home. At home, there can be fewer distractions as there are fewer social interactions. Staff who are working from home will often try and make a point of getting a lot done, to ensure that they get to keep this privilege. This may even extend into working during their usual commute time.

Another advantage of allowing staff to work from home is that it can allow them to claim a percentage of their internet and electricity towards work. Easy tax deductions are always welcome. You can read more about the benefits of working from home here.

Special days and events

Many offices will participate in various charity days, and other activities. This helps break up the monotony of the regular work week. Some examples of these include:

Harmony Day – This where everyone can bring in food from their culture, or just an interesting food that they like.

Pizza social – pizza is one of the easiest foods to share and is something most people will eat. There are countless excuses where ordering dozens of pizzas. Also, some drinks before or after any kind of big meeting or announcement can help encourage socialising between departments.

Dress up days – there are many charities that allow organisations to raise money by wearing different clothes for a gold coin donation. You might also want to dress up for particular major events, such as the AFL grand final, Melbourne Cup, or Halloween (yes, Halloween in Australia).

Charity breakfasts, morning teas and lunches – There are several of these type of annual events in Australia that let you raise money for charity whilst allowing staff to bond.

Excursions – You can organise group activities of all kinds. Cooking classes, laser tag, go-karts, sporting events, escape rooms and many more options should be available in your city.

Trivia night – A trivia night can be a good team building exercise, especially if you put people onto teams with people from other departments.

Special lunches or dinners – Some businesses will take a team, department or the whole company out to special lunches or dinners. This is very common at Christmas. You can also find other excuses to have events for your staff to celebrate milestones. It could be for hitting a particular target or reaching an anniversary or to welcome new staff. These sorts of events can be great

Movie nights – You take the team to the movies, or even have a space available for people to watch videos of their own choice on the lunch break.

Activities in the office – A pool table, table tennis table, arcade machine or video game console such as Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or something vintage can also make for great team building fun during lunchtime or after hours.

With some flexibility, fun and trust in your staff can help attract and retain the right people. The cost involved is minor when you take a step back and look at the wider benefits of greater output. Retaining staff helps save time training new staff. If you look after your staff, they will look after you.

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