Flexible working: A boost for mental health and productivity

Flexible working: A boost for mental health and productivity

Before we deep dive into the article, let us take a moment to do a small activity. Take a minute to think about your ideal workplace. What roles and responsibilities would you like to take up? What would your office colleagues be like? Would you like to go to the office or choose a place of your comfort and work remotely? Once you decide your answers, focus on how it makes you feel and stay with that feeling. 

Now we all know about the cultural shifts that happened within companies amidst the Pandemic. Some multinational companies also announced a permanent Work-from-home for their employees while some embraced the hybrid culture and some preferred going back to the way it was i.e. working from the office. Technological advancements and people’s adaptability have made this shift possible for a lot of companies in and outside of India. 

Along with the changes in working modes, the corporate world has also seen changes in the workload and work culture. A 2022 study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP reports that about 47% of employees consider work stress as one of the crucial factors affecting their mental well-being. This number is alarming and definitely needs everyone’s attention. Since an average working person spends the majority of their time and mental energy at work, it is very crucial that the workspace also prioritizes its employee wellbeing. 

In this article, we focus on how flexible working policies can create a better environment and boost employee well-being and productivity. This flexibility does not necessarily mean that it has to be a WFH profile. Flexibility can be reflected in the ways through which companies offer their employees the freedom to complete tasks within the given timeline and schedule tasks based on their schedules. The flexibility can also be reflected in the treatment. Many companies have a Virtual Health Clinic set up where the employees can visit Healthcare professionals and even Mental Health Professionals to get a more in-depth understanding of how they can take better care of themselves and remain healthy and fit. 

The reason why this flexibility works in the favor of the company is because it reiterates that though very crucial, work is just one of the important parts of our lives and it can always help to maintain the balance between all the important areas.

Helps in building more trust:

When you are given freedom, it also teaches you how to use it responsibly. Everyone comes from varied lifestyles and responsibilities so for every individual the time during which they can work most productively may differ. For example, a parent who has a 2-month-old baby at home and a young woman who has a chronically ill family member at home are going to have very different schedules. Thus the flexibility of work schedules can offer them a great choice to plan things in a way that works the best for them. Not only does this freedom support them but it also helps them establish great trust and respect for their leaders and managers. 

Increased productivity:

Every individual is different and so is their working style. You may have heard of people being a night owl or an early bird. Some people can work an entire night shift being fully focused whereas some people function better if they take small breaks because it allows them to recharge. Some people function better in a group and some prefer working in solitude with more headspace. Flexible working hours and working modes can allow people to reflect on and recognize their working styles and utilize them to the fullest.  A research study conducted by Choudhary, Prithviraj, and colleagues revealed that the transition from Working from the Office to Working from anywhere resulted in a 4.4% increase in the output achieved.

Improved satisfaction:

The contentment usually determines the Job Satisfaction the employees feel with their jobs, its different aspects, and the work environment. Flexible workplaces take into consideration all these factors and foster an environment of growth and cooperation that results in increased satisfaction amongst the employees. Various research shows the positive impact that flextime and telecommuting can have on employee retention and job satisfaction—especially telecommuting because it allows the employees to work from their choice of places resulting in a healthy balance of freedom and commitment. Studies also show that organizations that emphasize flexibility and work-life balance are more likely to retain Indian millennials while staying competitive in the relevant marketplace.

Better scope for work-life balance:

Many workplaces are coming forward to prioritize the well-being of their employees by giving them compressed work weeks. A survey was conducted in Iceland between 2015 to 2019 to test the results of the same. The results showcased improved well-being among employees. Despite the reduced working hours, there is no decline in the outcome and productivity showcased by employees. Compressed work weeks can work the best also because they provide a sustainable solution to burnout, stress, and fatigue faced by employees due to over-work. Employees prefer this because after all one will feel motivated and energized to work only when one is well rested and less burdened.