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Flexibility is the priority of today’s workforce

Mark Sweeney, Regional Vice President UKI at Citrix discusses why flexibility is the priority of today’s workforce

Salary increases and various work ‘perks’ have historically been a huge factor in talent acquisition and retention. Line managers and HR leads have long negotiated title changes and holiday allowances, but today employees are putting flexible hours and the ability to work from home at centre stage.

The traditional methods of luring top talent with wage bumps have become less effective due to the existence of rigid or non-existent flexible working policies, with research during the pandemic showing up to three quarters of UK employees would take a pay cut in exchange for a fully remote role that allows them to work from anywhere.

Previously, where employees worked was non-negotiable and glued to the location of a company’s office. Today, remote access tools can offer the opportunity to enhance lives through flexibility. This makes talent negotiations quite simple: if an employee that wants to work from home is being denied so by their employer, they will happily leave to work somewhere else.

Flexible cultures
Workers want to be providing meaningful contributions to their business without stringent policies on location and legacy tools holding them back. Business leaders that aren’t considering this a priority may soon find themselves on the losing side of the talent war; they simply can’t expect the modern employee to stick around if they aren’t working where they feel they perform best.

As leaders, we must now recognise that flexible working is no longer a ‘nice to have’. If an employee feels most comfortable at home, then why should they travel to an office where they are less motivated and productive? Hybrid policies have become essential to attracting and retaining talent and HR teams must strive to create the best experience possible, giving staff the choice of where, when, and how they work.

Allowing staff to make their own decisions can be very empowering and using terminology such as ‘recommendations’ or ‘guidelines’ can help foster the kind of culture that keeps talent for many years. Creating personal accountability for meeting deadlines and targets, without having to worry about presenteeism or contravening HR rules, can have significant contributions to the overall wellness of a workforce. To meet the expectations and desires of today’s employees, decision makers need to be as nimble as possible, therefore accommodating the preferences of a variety of people with differing commitments outside work.

Why remote access is the answer

A digital workspace is an integrated technology framework designed to deliver and manage app, data, and desktop delivery. It allows employees to access their apps and data in real-time, on any device, from any location, regardless of whether the information is stored through cloud services or in the data centre.

Deploying a digital workspace can enable employees to create a better work-life balance for themselves and integrate other priorities in their life within their working routine. They are the key to unlocking a new future of work that doesn’t rely on a physical location to meet business goals. These location agnostic solutions have the added benefit of preventing divisions between remote and office workers from occurring by creating a level playing field so all employees can be as efficient as each other.

While decision makers should invest in flexible technologies, they must be conscious that an inadequate set of tools are likely to have a negative impact on talent retention, as slow apps and platforms can frustrate employees to the extent that they become unproductive and unable to do their best work. This will not only have a variety of direct impacts for an organisation, but also leave employees feeling unfulfilled, which is the first step to considering leaving a role.

The technology that enables remote working has been available for quite some time, but policies and trust issues have halted progress and held many organisations back from fully committing. Covid-19 enforced lockdowns have helped to break down those barriers and those wishing to spend more time working remotely should no longer be burdened by outdated cultures. Flexibility is what the modern employee values the most and with the right tools alongside a progressive, flexible work policy, recruitment teams will have a powerful draw for future talent while simultaneously giving current employees no reason to look elsewhere.

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