When we talk about giving employees more flexibility around doing their work, we often time have different dimensions of flexibility in mind.
The team at Werk did a great job in offering a shared taxonomy for talking about flexibility:
The make a distinction between 6 types of flexibility:
- Work from home (Werk: DeskPlus™) employees are based out of a company office, but can work at a location of their choosing for some portion of their time. Utilizing location variety can enhance productivity, reduce the burden of a long commute, increase creativity, and/or meet other needs.
- Part Time employees work on a reduced hours schedule. Part Time does not mean an individual is no longer in an advancement track role — employees utilizing Part Time have the experience and skills to meet their objectives on a reduced hours schedule.
- Step way (Werk: MicroAgility™) employees have the autonomy to step away from their work to accommodate the unexpected in micro increments of 1–3 hours. Employees are responsible for communicating their plans and meeting their daily objectives. The ability to make micro-adjustments to the workday prevents an employee’s personal life from becoming a major work life disruption.
- Flexible workday (Werk: TimeShift™) employees reorder their working hours to create an unconventional schedule that optimizes productivity and performance. An employee could shift their workday an hour to avoid a long commute, to break their day into sprints, or in a formalized condensed work week program.
- Minimal Travel (Werk: TravelLite™) employees have minimal to no travel, with a maximum of 10% travel annually (2–4 days per month or its annual equivalent). Employees can reduce travel requirements by utilizing virtual meetings.
- Remote employees do not work at a company office — they can work from anywhere. While many Remote arrangements are fully location independent, some may have location considerations, such as the need to attend occasional in-person meetings or service a region.
I find these distinctions very valuable in giving us shared language to discuss this broad and amorphous topic.
My biggest qualm with the Werk framework is their decision to brand (and trademark…) the types of flexibility that did not have a broadly accepted definition around them. Looking at the field psychology as an interesting case study, the need to “brand” different psychological techniques resulted in a proliferation of brands with highly similar to completely identical underlying principles. Which in turn made it harder to see the forest for the trees and slowed down progress.