More and more businesses are diverting from the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule, where employees spend long, specified hours in a fixed office location. Instead, employers are embracing flexible workspaces which allow employees to work remotely, from alternative locations, or on schedules that better suit their needs.

The shift to greater flexibility in work environments has proven to be successful. About 78% of workers say remote and hybrid work has improved their overall well-being, according to Cisco. This is likely due to a number of factors, including reduced distractions, eliminated commutes, more control over the environment, and increased work-life balance. 

Remote and Hybrid Work Trends in 2023

So, what do employees think about these work arrangements? According to Gallup, only 3% of professional services employees with remote-capable jobs say they would rather work exclusively in the office. However, only one in three prefer to work fully remote. In other words, while few employees want to stick to the classic 9-to-5 schedule, a strictly remote environment won’t work either. The majority of workers are looking for a flexible middle ground.

On a similar note, McKinsey reports that 87% of workers who are offered the opportunity to work at least some shifts remotely seize that opportunity, spending an average of three days per week working from home. Based on employee preferences, remote work options will likely continue growing in popularity, with more companies adopting remote work policies or expanding existing remote work and remote co-working programs. 

Benefits for Employers

When making decisions, HR executives must balance what is best for their employees and their companies. It is clear to see that employees enjoy flexibility and want more, but does that mean it is a good decision overall?

Well, from a savings standpoint, it’s a great idea. According to an analysis by Global Workplace Analytics, a research-based consulting firm, remote work could save U.S. companies $500 billion annually (or $11,000 an employee). That’s a lot of money! By offering flexible hours, companies can also increase employee retention rates, reducing the costs associated with employee turnover.

Gartner research also shows that flexible work options increase productivity. With fewer distractions, decreased commuting time, and more efficient technology, employees with greater flexibility can complete more work per week. Some companies have also seen positive impacts on customer service. By allowing flexible schedules, they can offer extended customer service hours, which can greatly impact employee satisfaction and revenue. 

5 Alternatives to Traditional 9-5 Schedules

Thinking about offering more flexibility to employees? Here are some flexible work arrangements to consider:

1. Flexible Hours

Instead of requiring employees to work a set schedule, companies can implement an employee-determined shift structure. In this structure, management allows employees to choose their own work hours within a certain range. For example, team members might need to be on-site sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., but they can choose when to start and end their workday within that window—as long as they get all their work done. 

2. Compressed Workweeks

Compressed workweeks allow employees to work longer hours for fewer days a week. This arrangement may reduce commuting time, increase productivity, and improve work-life balance. On the other hand, longer workdays can make it challenging to coordinate schedules among team members.

3. Job Sharing

In this shift arrangement, two employees share one full-time job, splitting their hours and responsibilities This could be an attractive option for employees who prefer part-time work or have other commitments that prevent them from working full time. This option enables employers to provide flexibility for their employees without sacrificing productivity. 

4. Rotating Schedules

Companies can set up rotating schedules where employees work different shifts on different days of the week. This helps ensure adequate coverage for customer service or other needs while also providing some variety and flexibility for employees.

5. Remote Co-Working

Co-working spaces are shared working spaces that allow individuals or teams to work in a collaborative environment. The benefits of co-working spaces include increased collaboration, networking opportunities, and access to shared resources. This a great option for employers who want to provide office space but do not have the time or resources to do it on their own. 

In conclusion, it is clear to see that the world is shifting into a whole new way of work. Not only are employees seeking out employers who offer greater flexibility, but employers are also reaping the benefits of these arrangements. Companies may not be able to offer full-time remote work, but they can offer flexibility in a nontraditional way—and they should! Their companies and employees will be better for it.

Carlos Gareis is Chief Business Officer at The Yard, a revolutionary co-working space with locations in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

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