Flexibility And Hybrid Work - Deepstash
Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.

Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.

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Flexibility And Hybrid Work

Flexibility And Hybrid Work

“Flexibility” is now rivaled in prominence only by the novel work model it is so often used to describe: hybrid work. They have taken over the way we speak about the future of work and represent new ways of thinking about the further integration of work and life.

Many different interpretations of flexibility are beginning to arise. But none of these definitions is exactly what employees mean when they say they want flexibility. What it seems they really want is autonomy. Within the context of hybrid work, this means having the ability to be the primary decision-maker of where and when they do their work.

The Relationship Between Autonomy and Flexibility

The Relationship Between Autonomy and Flexibility

  • Low autonomy, low flexibility: I am mandated to be in the office full time.
  • Low autonomy, medium flexibility: I work from both the home and the office, but my organization tells me which days to be in which place.
  • Medium autonomy, medium flexibility: I can work from multiple locations, but with a minimum number of days required in the office each week.
  • Medium autonomy, high flexibility: I am mandated to work remotely full time but can choose where I want to work.
  • High autonomy, high flexibility: I can work wherever, whenever, with full access to my organization’s office space.

Steps to Enabling Autonomy in Hybrid Work

  • Establish principles, not policies. Hybrid strategies containing policy-driven mandates on where and when to work are likely to be rejected by employees based on their inherent restriction to autonomy. 
  • Invest in competence and relatedness. Competence refers to an individual’s ability to complete their tasks through mastery of relevant skills. Relatedness refers to our sense of belonging and social cohesiveness with others.
  • Give employees the tools they need to work autonomously from anywhere. A specific location is simply no longer a prerequisite to working effectively or building a company culture: what’s more important is getting the right tools and technologies and using them effectively.

Why Give Employees Autonomy?

In short, autonomy is an indispensable component of motivation and a key driver of performance and well-being.

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