The Importance of Choice in the Workplace

Most of us can agree that having choice in our jobs helps us be more productive, healthier, creative, and engaged. A recent study by Flex Jobs show that 61% of workers left or considered quitting a job because it lacked work flexibility. Also, more than 75% of workers would be more loyal to their organization if it offered flexible work options. Overall, offering choice on when, where and how employees complete their work is beneficial for employee happiness, retention, and attraction.

Allow employee choice of where to work

As technology in the workplace increases, the ability for employees to work remotely has also risen. In a recent study by Clutch, they researched how changing work spaces effect worker’s needs. According to the study, over half of all workers (53%) value the flexibility to work in different locations. However, only a quarter of these workers have access to flexible work options. Many employees can work effectively and efficiently from various locations, such as home, co-working facilities, hotels, planes, etc. The key is to give employees the tools they need to succeed in these alternative locations. This may include cell phones, laptops, VPN (Virtual Private Networks) connections, security controls in place, etc.

Employees who are given the choice to work away from the office often find that they get more done. According to Gallop Panel Workforce survey from 2012 “Remote workers log an average of four more hours per week than their on-site counterparts. Despite working longer hours, working remotely seems to have a slightly positive effect on worker’s employee engagement levels.”

There are several benefits of allowing employees to choose where they work including;

  • Improved employee retention
  • Less time spent commuting
  • Access to a wider pool of applicants
  • Giving employees freedom to work in a way that suits them
  • Less office space needed, equating to lower costs for office space and maintenance
  • Increased productivity

Ultimately, employees who are given a choice of where they work allows them to get their work done without the added distractions that a workplace can present.

Provide choice as to when employees can work

Flexible work schedules are an upcoming trend that provide an alternative to the traditional 8 to 5 work weeks. One way to do this would include allowing employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times. Many companies provide policies on the number of hours an employee must work. However, giving employees freedom to choose when to work these hours may provide a more natural stability between their home and work lives. On average, 71% of workers say they seriously consider how a position will affect their work-life balance (FlexJobs). This flexibility is becoming increasingly important for employees who value equally dividing time and energy to both work and home.

Another way to offer this choice is through job sharing. This allows two employees to split the responsibilities of a full-time position. Benefits would be given in proportion to the number of hours each person works. This may provide a wider range of applicants for a position with a demanding workload. A third option would be allowing a compressed workweek. This would give employees the choice to complete their required hours in fewer than five days. As some positions may require specific core time, key guidelines should be in place to make sure flexible hours will not affect their work. Whatever your company policies may be, employee choice should be at the center.

Offer employees the choose how they work

While it may be difficult to allow certain employees the choice on where and when they can work, you can still provide choice on the way they complete their workday. In order to create a happy, healthy workplace it is important to provide spaces to help cope with workday stress as well as increase productivity. Each employee has different ways that helps them to produce their best work. The most engaged and satisfied workers are able to choose where to work in the office based on their task. Changing positions or locations during work can be beneficial to creativity, health, and productivity. Providing areas and items such as height adjustable desks, shared collaborative areas, different lighting options, comfortable seating, etc. will enable employees to select their preference.

Although it is important to provide spaces for employees to choose how to work, it is valuable for employees to have designated spaces in the office. In fact, the Clutch study reveals that 39% of workers who value a comfortable work space say that a dedicated desk, office, and/or meeting space is important. Providing breakout areas for employees to unwind is equally advantageous.  These areas may include a well-planned breakroom, dedicated meditation areas, or a workout room.  Another way to facilitate choice is involving employees in office space planning. This provides a different value that allows employees to give input. For example, the majority of workers (61%) value an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable work space (FlexJobs). Understanding this may help with decision making in the design of an office. Creating an office vibe that promotes health and choice will create a sense of value and appreciation towards your employees.

Insights with Innovative

At Innovative, we help make workplaces more productive and believe in the importance of employee choice. Creating an inspiring environment where people love to work is essential for workplace culture and company productivity! Through our insights workshops, we can help you understand what your employees need to love what they do and who they do it with.

Contact Innovative at cs@innovativeos.com or reach out to your Account Executive to get started today!