The Way We Work Has To Change

This week I had the pleasure (?) of traveling on Frontier Airlines.  It’s a new airline that is known for charging you for carrying on your baggage. Oh and unless you are in a “premium” seat you get this as an excuse for a tray table:

I could barely fit my ipad on this.
I could barely fit my iPad on this.

But I digress.

As I was preparing to board, the flight crew was talking with a woman in a wheelchair about the Buckeyes. Turns out one of the flight attendants is a graduate from OSU with a degree in finance.  The woman in the wheelchair asked her why she is working as a stewardess if she has a degree in finance.  

The flight attendants response?

She worked a couple internships for corporations and decided she wanted no part of sitting in a cube, under artificial light all day.  

This is your prospective employee speaking. Not everyone will become a flight attendant to avoid life (and death ) behind a cubicle BUT an increasing number of employees are demanding more flexibility in the workplace.  Due to a variety  of factors, including more two income families, elder care, and a desire for a better quality of life,  people want more flexibility at work.

With high quality talent becoming more difficult to find, it is critical you start exploring how you can make flexible work happen at your organization. SHRM provides some great research on workplace flexibility that includes information on implementation and examples of it in action. In addition to that you can do some easy research on the web to help you understand what employees are looking for and where the challenges may lie:

  1. Working from home during inclement weather
  2. Where positions allow it, letting people work from home on a regular basis.  
  3. Recognizing it isn’t just women that raise children. Today’s fathers are hands on and want to be active parents.  
  4. Employees want more vacation and the ability to actually take it. .
  5. Employees want paid maternity/paternity leave and shouldn’t be punished for taking advantage of those programs.  

Some of these are easier to solve for than others. Like all organizational decisions you have to consider multiple factors: work environment (office or factory), the size of your company, customer needs and budget.  Yes, there will be some positions you may not be able to have working from home but there may be other solutions you can try, such as flexible scheduling.  Your employees are trying to make work, work. I believe there is too much technology and too many resources for you to ignore this critical piece of the modern workplace.



Leave a Reply