Flexibility Is the Hidden Key to Workplace Happiness

Let’s face it: most employees are not happy at work. In fact, research from Gallup shows that 85% of them around the world are disengaged. That creates a host of problems for businesses, ranging from lost productivity to stifled innovation and growth, and it’s up to HR professionals to refocus the values of the organization in an effort to focus on the employee. How can HR leaders empower their organizations to make employees not only like to work, but love it? Spark a refocus from the top down, from how to get the most out of them, to giving them what they need to be and do their best.

Superior employee experience is essential in fueling critical business goals, from successfully attracting and retaining talent to boosting customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ultimately, revenue. And according to Priming a New Era of Digital Wellness, a new study conducted by Quartz Insights, creating flexible work environments and providing access to the tools people need and prefer to use to get things done is the secret to delivering it and improving engagement, productivity and results.

Do well by delivering good

In a global survey of more than 1,000 workers conducted across industries in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, China, Japan, and Australia, Quartz researchers found that 90 percent of respondents with access to “good technology” report being more productive.

What defines “good technology” for today’s employees? In a word: simplicity. Of those who participated in the Quartz survey, nearly 84 percent said they just want applications that are intuitive and easy to use.

Don’t frustrate. Automate.

What’s more, three out of four indicated that technology should eliminate friction and automate the menial tasks that dominate their days so they can focus on the meaningful work they were hired and want to do. These are valuable insights to HR leaders, whose job is to recognize and then mitigate gaps in the employee experience.

People don’t want to spend their time submitting purchase orders, filing expenses, or searching for information. They want to be creative and innovative and use their special skills to deliver value.

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Set them free

Modern employees also want – and expect – control over when, where, and how they work and see digital technology along with new, more flexible work arrangements as a way to get it.

When asked to rank factors in terms of their ability to create a workplace environment that allows them to do their best work in order of importance, respondents to the Quartz survey put flexible work arrangements third, just behind salary and leadership and ahead of access to effective technology. And more than 75 percent said that greater flexibility with their work schedule would help them innovate and be more creative.

It’s clear that to attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market and move their business forward, HR professionals need to drive a change in company mindset in rethinking what “workplace” means and create digital environments that accommodate new work models and provide access to the tools and information employees need to do their best work when and how they want.

Measure value, not output

When it comes to technology, it’s no longer a matter of the output it delivers, but the value it creates for employees. The best HR professionals are already listening to their employees, and already recognize this and are focused on designing people-centric experiences that inspire and empower their employees. And they’re delivering transformative results.

Donna Kimmel is the executive vice president and chief people officer of Citrix. She is responsible for all aspects of identifying, fostering and developing top talent as well as overseeing organizational strategies that maximize engagement and position the company to win in the marketplace.

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