Let flex be flexible: Why you should let remote employees choose how to work

When it comes to remote and hybrid ways of working, flexibility matters.

Even with the massive popularity of remote work, and although the world is collectively inching closer to the end of the pandemic that pushed it to become widespread on an unprecedented scale, many companies are still shifting to get remote work just right. This goes for employers, employees and job seekers who are eagerly pursuing their ideal remote work position.

Studies have shown that most employed people in the UK are working in a hybrid format, where they work from home at least a few days every week or month. But remote and hybrid work tend to look different for different companies. That can be a good thing, but new research indicates that it can actually put a strain on employees in an unexpected way.

Remote works best when it’s flexible

UK remote work

A one-size-fits-all work model does more harm than good. (Photo by Alla Serebrina on Deposit Photos)

It turns out that, when it comes to more flexible ways of working, what matters most is — well, flexibility.

Some companies approached hybrid work by creating standardised, prescribed schedules of who works in-office and when. This kind of structure is well-meaning, but data from consulting firm The Hackett Group found that this kind of “one-size-fits-all” working model actually does more harm than good.

This makes sense for one of the same reasons why remote work does wonders for productivity: each staff member knows the environment they work in best. If they have the freedom to create that environment by setting the terms of how they work, and when, they have more flexibility to do their best.

If an employee’s schedule is instead directed by a one-size-fits-all routine that may not have considered their needs, it could get quite frustrating for a staff member who feels like the flexibility they’re supposed to have isn’t really there. Or isn’t really working out for them.

It could also lead to a loss of appeal for prospective candidates who are searching for a career that provides flexibility in actuality and not just in an ineffective way.

Brits want work-life balance that’s real

remote work UK

HR and management should get input from staff on flexible work schedules. (Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash)

The Hackett Group’s research also aligns with an earlier study by LinkedIn that found hybrid workers felt they were left with the short end of the stick when it comes to work-life balance.

While fully remote staff got the benefit of a more relaxed working environment, and in-office staff begrudgingly held onto the expectations of office formality, hybrid workers felt stuck between the two worlds.

Not only did they have inconvenient schedules since most weren’t able to choose which days they worked remotely, but they also felt “emotionally drained” from having to mentally switch between the stuffy in-office expectations and the more comfortable environment when working from home.

The best way to beat this, as suggested by the Hackett Group and fully supported by RemoteWorker.co.uk, is for HR and management to work with their staff to ensure that the flexibility offered is actually flexible.

Giving employees the leeway to maximise their productivity by curating their working model is a solution that everyone can benefit from.

Find the latest remote jobs in the UK via RemoteWorker.co.uk.

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