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Allowing employees flexibility in their job

I've written about Self Determination Theory before but thought I'd break it down further. Researchers Deci and Ryan looked at fifteen behaviors that leaders could demonstrate that would allow employees to satisfy their own need for competence, connection and choice. This post I look at the first of those fifteen behaviours: Allowing employees flexibility in their job

Scanning the news, reading diverse whitepapers and collecting anecdotes here are a few of the things I have found that you can do as a leader within your organization:

  • Shift from tracking how many hours an employee works to whether people are getting high quality work done - when they do it, or how long they spend isn't as important as actually getting it done.

  • Allow remote working (COVID seems to have forced this but now it is such an advantage - e.g.: more people have started to return to work or people have more opportunity to apply to jobs they like outside of their city)

    • Bonus: Offer a WFH budget for equipment purchase - headphones, monitor chair etc.

  • Allow flexible contracts - i.e. while the regular contract is 5 days, some orgs allow 4 days - e.g.: an individual can have the Monday or the Friday off.

  • Company wide shutdowns (there is no back log!)Nike gave Thanksgiving week off to US based staff to de-stress.

  • A higher percentage of independent consultants (paid by the hour or day) vs. only full time contracts - which can be a win win for organizations and employees

  • The normalization and enablement of asynchronous work; meaning I might not answer right away and that’s OK, but you have to know there is an expectation that I will by a reasonable time and be able to flex to other work in the mean time. That gives me the power to insert life amongst work and take time as needed to focus, find flow, and step away as needed. Technology helps here, too, I really love Slack for creating flowing asynchronous conversation, but TEAMs channels and even just emails to a certain extent can suffice in helping facilitate these, too. Co working platforms like Google, OneDrive / Sharepoint are also helpful here.

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