Flexibility in the workplace not only affects employees’ mental health, but physical health, as well. You might be thinking that this piece is about stretching at your desk. Or about Peerfit being a company with remote employees. Or even about my personal work schedule, which often consists of a 2:00 p.m. fitness class or responding to emails on the weekend.

You might be thinking of any of these scenarios, but this article isn’t about any one of them; it’s about all of them.

Any employee that is willing to roll with the punches and be flexible enough to handle what is thrown at them is commonly viewed as a team player and a valued individual. Why, then, is this notion of flexibility in the workplace often not reciprocated by the actual employer? It’s time for employers to redefine their approach to flexibility in the workplace.

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Increase Productivity

Robots are predictable, but they lack passion and creativity. At some point in our careers, we may work for a company that values that robotic approach to work and status quo above all. Having worked with Peerfit clients that promote alternative approaches to “normal” work environments, it’s clear how much more productive a workforce is with this approach.

Flexibility in the workplace can mean various things. For instance, letting employees know it’s okay to take a twenty-minute nap to recharge their brain. Or, encouraging your team to take a break every couple hours to stretch and rejuvenate the body. None of this occurs unless it’s promoted within the workplace, and let’s be honest, it all starts with the C-suite.

 

Reduce Health Risks

This might come as no surprise, but not having to deal with daily commute traffic, reducing personal scheduling conflicts, and even finding work hours that are ideal for an individual’s productivity, can help in reducing obesity, alcohol abuse, and tobacco use.

How does an employer get this to happen in their workplace?

Embrace the flexibility of telecommuting and non-traditional hours. The nine to five schedule has become the norm, but having the flexibility to break up your day, not to mention avoiding the daily commute to work, greatly reduces the stress levels of most individuals. I experience this flexibility daily with Peerfit where our 20+ employees stay connected through Slack, Trello, and video chats, all while never stepping foot in a brick and mortar office.

Yes, it will no doubt take effort and produce angst in the beginning for anyone overseeing the transfer to a remote work environment, but if a 160-year-old organization like Aetna can do it, then your team can, as well. With the payoff being happier employees, reduced healthcare costs, and possibly even reducing monthly office expenses, I’d say it’s worth it.

While the aforementioned approaches to workplace flexibility can positively affect employee health and wellbeing, it should still be separate from an organization’s actual wellness program. Our passion at Peerfit is to help redefine wellness, and as a part of that mission we realize the importance in providing a premium service that is flexible enough for anyone.

Whether it’s Peerfit, Netflix, or Amazon, we now live in a society where customization and convenience are key. Employee choice and customization were even recently listed as one of the Employee Wellbeing Trends for 2017. Whether you’re an insurance carrier, broker, or employer, there is no doubt that the status quo is no longer acceptable, and that times are changing quickly with flexibility in the workplace, in all its versions, being something that will help attract and retain top talent.

 

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