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Julio de 2020 Página 1 de 3

Flexible working will be the 'new normal'

Sandra Arévalo, founder and CEO of Wisar.

The future of work points to a more dinamic, open and digital environment. Read about the principal flexible ways to work in the next article.

For the past two years, Wisar’s blog, a global aggregator of freelance online jobs, has focused on spreading trends around the future of work. We were far from thinking that global confinement due to the current pandemic suddenly imposed some of them, teleworking being the most notable.

Entrepreneurs were forced to manage businesses and personnel in a scenario for which most were unprepared. In turn, workers have been forced to maintain productivity in a complex compatibility scenario with personal life.

With workplace flexibility as a cornerstone in jointly building the future of work, in this article, we will share keys to making the most of the transformation opportunity that the COVID challenge represents. We will discuss how the corporate culture has to change to adapt to the new reality and what tools facilitate the teams’ productivity even when working remotely.

Latin America and flexible working

Pre-COVID data indicated that 46% of companies in Latin America did not yet offer labor flexibility policies. Meanwhile, 22% provided the possibility of doing home-office, 21% allowed to work from anywhere, and 11% of companies resorted to telework.

These are some of the data collected in the study “What happens in Latin America: Cloud, security and flexible work” carried out by Citrix in various companies in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. The study reported that 53% of companies that favored labor flexibility did so at the request of employees. They perceived higher productivity, cost savings, greater creativity, fewer resignations, and less absenteeism.

The labor situation in Latin America starts with labor problems that hinder the application of labor flexibility. As reported in the OECD’s Employment Outlook report in 2017, Latin American workers work the most prolonged hours worldwide. Mexico stands out with 2,255 hours per active person and Costa Rica with 2,212 hours. Data that reflects the complexity when planning and implementing labor flexibility policies in these countries.

Thanks to millennials, flexibility in hours has also become a challenge for companies in Latin America. The survey “Work, for me. Understanding the candidate’s demand for flexibility”, prepared by ManpowerGroup Solutions, showed that 40% of candidates globally considered job flexibility to be critical when choosing a company.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 66% of IT managers viewed employees as more productive if they were in the office. Consequently, 52% had not yet adopted flexible work policies. A study prepared by Citrix highlights the need for a cultural change and the increase in trust in the employee to implement labor flexibility policies.

Why should companies implement work flexibility?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) considers flexible work to be one of the significant trends in the future of work. A more humane way of understanding work committed to making structures more flexible by applying technology and adapting to the specific needs of people and companies. While the professional strike a balance between their personal and professional lives, companies benefit from a positive impact on team motivation and productivity.

During the last annual WEF meeting, expert Adam Grant, a psychologist at the Wharton School in Pennsylvania, stated that experiments show that by reducing working hours, people can focus their attention more effectively by producing the same and often with higher quality and creativity. Additionally, professionals are more loyal to organizations willing to give them flexibility so they can take care of their lives outside of work.

 Flexibility as a driver of productivity

For years, we have had access to multiple studies that claim that job flexibility increases productivity. Still, in the vast majority of companies, flexible working has not yet been implemented. Suspicion and concern about letting employees work outside the office have been seen as a privilege that people can abuse.

In many work cultures, managers still have trouble trusting their teams. For all these reasons, labor presenteeism has led to a stop in companies until now, when a pandemic forces us to re-evaluate the preconception that we have about working without physical supervision.

A scientific study on productivity by Nicholas Bloom (Creator of the Movement 1 Million for work flexibility), professor of economics at Stanford University, showed that working from home increases productivity by 13%.

Work flexibility and deciding hours and workplace, among other things, save money on medical leave because remote work decreases the likelihood that employees will take sick leave and also improves performance. Also, reducing the use of transport helps us protect the environment by avoiding unnecessary transfers.

Five ways to implement flexible work and increase productivity 

  1. Trust at the heart of the employment relationship

Trust in the worker is a crucial concept from the individual and business perspective.

Palabras relacionadas:
COVID-19, Flexible working, freelance online jobs, teleworking,Latin America and flexible working,

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