Even as fears of an economic recession ramp up, the Great Resignation continues to roll on. Seven of the top apps used by job seekers are having their biggest month ever as workers are looking for better opportunities. How can you ensure you retain your best talent? Creating a flexible work culture helps combat attrition and has also been shown to have a dramatic impact on productivity.

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As part of our series on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way we work, we have highlighted advice from renowned business leaders and experts.

flexible work from home

Earlier this month Blueprint attended a panel discussion about workplace flexibility moderated by Grammarly. Wharton professor Adam Grant, who hosts the massively successful WorkLife podcast and has written several best-selling books about the intersection of work and life, and Abbey Lunney, Director of Trends & Thought Leadership for the Harris Poll, shared their thoughts on the evolution of flexible work culture. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the session.

Rethinking Flexibility in the Workplace

Grant did not mince words when he addressed the issue of a flexible work culture: “Listen to the ideas that make you think hard, not the opinions that make you feel good,” he told the audience. In particular, Grant stressed that a willingness to experiment to iterate cultural norms is key to an organization’s success.

flexible work culture

Communication is essential for any company, whether most employees are in-office, hybrid, or fully remote. “We surveyed knowledge workers and business leaders and the key stress point was poor communication/miscommunication,” Lunney told the audience. “Clarifying communication policies and setting boundaries around expectations for response times can alleviate a lot of stress organization-wide.”

Promoting flexibility around work setups and business hours also helps keep an organizational culture alive, rather than calcified around possibly outdated practices and procedures. “People who work all-remote report better work-life balance even if they end up working longer hours,” he said.

Fresh Ideas for a Flexible Work Culture

The most successful organizations iterate their culture, rather than thinking of it as fixed. In addition to having candid discussions around critical feedback and setting expectations for communication, your company’s C-level employees need to walk the walk. “Leaders need to stigmatize a work all the time culture,” Grant said.

flexible work from home policy
Another way to keep your organization’s culture fresh is to offer opportunities for in-house networking. “Encourage people who don’t actually work together to get to know each other,” Grant said.

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Finally, the panelists stressed that more seasoned leaders should recalibrate their expectations around work-life balance. It’s time to retire the tired clichés of the “first in, last out” worker or the “road warrior” in favor of a more balanced take on what dedication means at work. Currently, we live in a world where people get a lot of their sense of identity from work and what they do – but this is changing fast as younger generations enter the workplace. This is why it’s more important than ever for organizations to prioritize a flexible work culture.

“Don’t reward or tolerate superstars if they are undermining others,” Grant said. “Don’t promote people who are defeating your culture.”

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