Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.
As far as buzzwords go, “flexibility” is now rivaled in prominence only by the novel work model it is so often used to describe: hybrid work. Together, these words have taken over the way we speak about the future of work and constitute a whole series of new ways to think about the further integration of work and life.
But as typically happens with buzzwords, many different interpretations of flexibility are beginning to arise. For some, it means “the ability to connect and get work done from anywhere,” while to others it means “we’ll let you work from home a couple times a week.” As we’re beginning to find out, however, no one 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.
For leaders to facilitate flexibility and succeed in hybrid work, enabling employee autonomy will be paramount.