Flexibility in the workplace means quickly adapting to changing circumstances and expectations. The concept of workplace flexibility isn’t exactly new – What digital nomads were as early adopters will become possible for a significant share of the mainstream population.
With the global COVID-19 pandemic, flexible work trends are on a significant rise and here to stay as employees and employers learn to get used to it and enjoy it.
We’re on the verge of the greatest migration in human history and most of it is yet to come after Covid has been successfully fought. It won’t be “normal” digital nomads traveling around the world permanently, but it will be millions of people relocating semi-permanently to places better fitting their way of living.
During a pandemic, people are forced to work remotely though, it’s not really a free choice. However, we are now entering the real wave of remote & flexible work, forcing employers to rethink their work concept, office set-up, culture, and ways of collaboration.
Remote work has gone mainstream in 2020 and with that, location independence suddenly has become a possibility for millions of workers across the globe. Most people now are stuck in their home countries due to the pandemic closing borders. But once the pandemic ends or becomes controllable, and people can travel again, the wave will start.
We believe that most people working remotely and doing it location independently will NOT be fast traveling from place to place but instead will relocate longer-term to remote work destinations. The term “remote work” does not only include long-distance travel but also moving away from larger cities into more rural areas or suburbs (as work-commuting is not necessary any longer) is considered working remotely.
The New Normal - Shifting to remote and home-office overnight
Last year’s abrupt shift to remote work, basically overnight, was a massive change for companies and for Homelike. We know our customers have realized that the newly implemented remote and flexible work policies have allowed them to work free from the anchor of a company office. Life, as we knew it, was turned upside down overnight, forcing companies to introduce home-office and restructure how work is done. Even though this was a big change for many companies (especially the ones that didn’t have any kind of work flexibility before the pandemic), the majority of companies found a quick way to adapt to the new normal.
With Homelike’s business model of temporary housing, we have always been close to people relocating, expats, digital nomads, or anyone in need of a monthly apartment – This is our day-to-day work. As our business has been growing with digital nomads seeking freedom of movement, we also saw the need of offering more flexibility to our employees in a post-pandemic world in an ever-changing work environment.
The Future of Work @ Homelike
We believe that the future of work is all about flexibility. Therefore, we announced our future work concept to the company already in June 2021 and we received incredible feedback from our employees.
Homelike’s approach to the new normal is centered around trust, flexibility, and the belief that in-person interaction remains an important part of our culture.
We give our employees the flexibility to work from home but encourage everyone to meet at the office frequently to meet and exchange with their own teams and colleagues from other departments.
We think the concept at Homelike will give us the best of remote and in-person work, balancing flexibility with human connection, and creating a better playing field for everyone.
Our future-of-work beliefs
- We believe that Homelike’s business is supporting the trend of remote work
- We believe in the concept of flexibility for our employees
- We believe that personal interaction is still important and should be encouraged
- We believe that work flexibility is an essential driver to be the employer of choice for great talents around the world
Our future-of-work principles
- We give our employees the flexibility to work from home but encourage everyone to meet at our offices frequently
- We give full trust to our employees to use the given flexibility in the best interest of Homelike and their team
- We keep all our offices so they can be used by every employee, at any time
- We offer the possibility to all employees to work at any destination worldwide fully remote for 2 months a year
Why we think it's the right concept for Homelike at the right time
Flexibility in the workplace is good for employees’ mental health and an employer’s bottom line. Here are some improvements that we think come along with the newly introduced work concept.
One of the most costly challenges an organization faces is employee churn. The costs of recruiting, onboarding, and training an employee can amount up to the employee’s annual salary. Thus, it is in our best interest to keep turnover low. Our employees have told us they value workplace flexibility. Creating a flexible workplace makes employees stay, therefore increasing motivation and as a side-effect also reducing hiring costs.
Implementing workplace flexibility is key for our recruiting efforts. Not only are candidates more eager to work for a flexible organization, but offering flexible work hours or remote work options broadens the talent pool that we can hire from. Our company will no longer be restricted to employees who live nearby our offices. Instead, we can source top talent from (almost) anywhere in the world.
Offering flexibility is a great way to improve our employer brand. This is important because branding has a significant impact on our ability to hire talented employees. Creating a culture of workplace flexibility reduces occupational stress. That may lead to increased creativity and a better work-life balance for employees and employers.
One of the arguments against remote work is often a loss of control or weaker overall performance. Exactly the opposite happened at Homelike: While everyone has been working at home for the last 16 months, we saw an increase in performance across the organization, better preparation of meetings and more regular check-ins, and a noticeable improvement in the stability of processes. In addition, everyone appeared more “under control” as meeting outcomes were better documented and accessible for everyone at any time.
It remains to be seen which of the flexible work trends will be temporary, and which will become permanent. Therefore, we´ll continuously ask for feedback and do regular company-wide reviews starting at the end of 2021. As we learn more, we’ll make any necessary adjustments to the policy according to the feedback received.