Flexible work is in high demand. In fact, a report from Apollo Technical found that 72% of workers prefer flexible work environments over a full return to office. 

And organizations are seeing measurable benefits. Increased productivity by 47%, higher employee performance (40% fewer defects in the quality of work), and profitability (with an average $11K saved/year per halftime remote worker), make flexible work seem more like a necessity than an employee perk.

If you’re considering how to design flexible work options or improve how your team can work remotely, you’re in the right place. 

We’ll discuss some of the important components of flexible work, changing employee expectations, and a few tips on how to future-proof your organization with video powered tools.

What is flexible work?

A flexible work arrangement allows employees to choose where and how they work. Research from SHRM shows increased employee flexibility provides a host of benefits including higher retention and engagement, reduced overhead, and better work-life balance.

There are two types of work flexibility:

Location flexibility

Location flexibility allows employees to work outside of a main office or designated worksite. Some common types of location flexibility include remote work, hybrid work, and telecommuting. A 2021 SHRM survey reported that 30% of employed Americans would prefer having the ability to do some form of remote work, and if their current employer doesn’t have that option would search for an employer that does.

Schedule flexibility

Schedule flexibility centers around employees’ ability to organize their work hours outside of the traditional five days a week 9-5 schedule. The most common types of schedule flexibility include:

  • Compressed workweek
  • Shift work
  • Flextime
  • Job sharing
  • Part-time schedules

The way we work is changing

The US Labor Department reported over 47 million Americans left their jobs in 2021 in an unprecedented mass workforce exodus. 

From dental offices to gas stations, worker shortages are forcing employers to reconsider how we think about the traditional workplace. 64% of workers in a recent Pew survey reported feeling uncomfortable going back to the office and 57% chose to work from home due to COVID-related concerns. The Harvard Business Review reported that 36% of workers surveyed would search for an alternative if not given a hybrid or remote option, and 6% were willing to quit outright even without a job lined up.

Economic uncertainty coupled with a competitive labor market and shifting employee expectations are forcing businesses to reconsider how and where people work. 

Promising data shows that flexible work boosts employee hiring, retention, satisfaction, and productivity. Gartner found 43% of respondents in their Digital Worker Experience Survey said flexible working hours made them more productive, and 30% said the time saved from commuting boosted productivity.

4 tips to empower a flexible work environment

As the workplace evolves, onboarding, training, enablement, and leadership teams require virtual communication, training, and engagement technology to support their organization. 

Here are four tips to help you create a successful flexible work environment for your employees and set your team up for success.

1. Engage employees

Employee engagement is a key indicator of company culture, cohesiveness, and success. And in a flexible or remote environment, it’s even more important to keep teams aligned, motivated, and happy at work. 

Since your workers aren’t congregating as regularly as in a traditional 9-5 office environment, you need to find other ways to prioritize employee engagement. 74% of employees report they are more effective at their job when they feel heard. 88% of employees at industry-leading companies feel heard, while only 62% of employees at financially underperforming companies feel heard. 

Town halls and all-hands meetings are critical for internal communication. Often they’re also one of the few times when remote and time-flexible employees get to see and chat with each other and build company culture, so your virtual town halls better be engaging! 

Everything you need to know about town halls

Learn how to live stream your next town hall.

Boring town halls are bad, but glitchy live streams are worse. An investment in high-quality video means exponential returns in team alignment, employee engagement, productivity, and connection to help build a cohesive and flexible workplace.

Rite Aid used Vimeo for their virtual town halls to immediate success; their very first virtual town hall saw the most engagement they’ve had in a decade.

We won’t return to how it was. Video isn’t a COVID-19 solution, it’s a modern solution for the new workplace.

Peter Strella, Director, Communications & Creative Media Services at Rite Aid

2. Design a virtual onboarding and training processes

As work transitions away from the office, training is transitioning along with it. In spite of remote work – or perhaps because of it – onboarding and training have become increasingly essential. 97% of employees are now onboarded via virtual sessions, and it’s up to the organization to create streamlined and effective programs. 

Video isn’t just inclusive and convenient, but can be more effective at training employees. Adults prefer self-directed or experiential learning and part of the shift to flexible work options is due to autonomy. For example, a working parent can do their onboarding and training while watching their child play. 

Global coatings company Axalta’s dedication to innovative and sustainable solutions translates across their product offerings to their training practices. Axalta launched a virtual training program to reach their partner workforce of nearly 13,000 technicians for the last six years. They use Vimeo Enterprise to power high-production-value virtual training systems including both live content for their workforce and a large, organized library of internal content.

“Technicians don’t always want to travel to our training centers, it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ for our diverse group of learners…What we started to do was take the same great classroom content and make it available online.”
Steve Hamaday, Virtual Training Manager at Axalta

The go-to guide for virtual trainings

Ramp up your remote team in record time with this in-depth guide.

3. Internal and external communication

A successful flexible workspace should facilitate smooth, regular communication internally and externally. Building creative 

Global customer support brand Zendesk went fully remote due to the pandemic and needed to help thousands of clients around the world stay up-to-date on their customer experience. To deliver agile thought leadership and fresh CX insights, their team used Vimeo’s powerful suite of tools to produce a weekly live streamed “morning show” of fresh customer experience insights. In just a few weeks, Zendesk built a powerful series that redefined corporate comms and used Vimeo to share their content with millions of users and thousands of clients and workers across the world in three languages.

“With Vimeo, we launched a bi-weekly live show for global customers, during a pandemic, in just weeks, not months. We managed the whole process on the Vimeo platform, collaborating remotely with our team and agency, and going live multiple times a week, in several languages.”
Alvin Mudun, Senior Web Product Manager for Zendesk in EMEA

4. Invest in tools for remote collaboration

When your workers are spread out across locations and time zones, the tools you use can make or break team productivity and motivation.

Video-based tools are a great way to collaborate in an inclusive format that pushes team communication to the forefront. For example, minimize digital fatigue by introducing more asynchronous communication through screen recordings that can be searched and transcribed. Spend less time typing out your feedback and capture ideas as they come by recording your screen, webcam, or both that you’re collaborating in Figma and Figjam with Vimeo

Introducing more ways to use video can have a measurable impact on your team. Vimeo’s State of Workplace Communication report found video-forward workforces have a 75% higher rate of reporting excellent employee engagement and are better at team collaboration. Collaboration means communication with team members, and video makes communication better and more inclusive through: 

  • Better employee engagement
  • Improved productivity
  • Accessible content anywhere, anytime
  • More transparency
  • Easy-to-use training libraries and resources

Power your organization with video

Originally written by Clara Wang and updated by Bianca Galvez on July 26, 2022.