Re-engaging employees with flexible working options

A survey has shown that most people feel disengaged from their jobs. Could flexible and remote working hold the solution?

Disengaged employee
Adapted from a photo by Fod Tzellos, used under Creative Commons

Do you ever wonder how many of your colleagues are counting down the minutes to 5pm? A Gallup survey published last month shows that more than half of employees are not engaged in their jobs, and a further 17.2% are ‘actively disengaged’. That leaves less than a third who find their work engaging. While the number of workers who replied positively has steadily increased since pollsters started asking the question in 2000, they now describe the trend as ‘stagnant’. It’s a sobering thought that more than two thirds of employees aren’t enthusiastic about their work – or committed to their employer.

Bad for business?

For the organisation, a lack of engagement presents a number of obvious issues. Disengaged staff produce mediocre work, are less likely to come up with great ideas, and are less interested in your business’s overall success. Ultimately, the grass is always greener on the other side, and employees who don’t feel fulfilled in their roles will start looking elsewhere.

The least-engaged group, Millennials, are currently entering the workforce in droves, but similar dissatisfaction is being reported in the generation preceding them. So what steps can employers take to ensure their biggest asset is in the right frame of mind to contribute to growing the business?

Increasing autonomy

One sure-fire way is to trust employees with more autonomy, in the form of flexible and remote working.

The introduction of modern working patterns might be a bitter pill to swallow for some organisations, particularly those with a well-established traditional 9 to 5 culture. However, it’s an important hurdle to overcome in order to retain employees and become a genuinely modern workplace.

Flexible working allows employees to work in a way that suits them, accommodating those who prefer to come in to the office (and leave) earlier or later than ‘normal’, and fitting work around other commitments. Paired with remote working, it means employees can enjoy a greater degree of balance between their home and work obligations.

Virtual workplace

The good news is that the technology to enable modern working styles is not only available, but accessible and affordable.

Microsoft’s subscription-based Office 365 programme augments the classic Office suite with tools that turn it into a true online workplace. Many of the elements replace old-fashioned across the board, not just for remote workers but for staff who are in the offices too.

By allowing employees to work on their terms, while still getting the job done, the modern workplace can enjoy a higher rate of engagement, happier employees, and better results. Find out more about Office 365, or get in touch with our team to find out more about how it could fit in with your workplace.

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