Though the healthy job market we've been enjoying this year bodes well for employees, it doesn't necessarily work out as well on the employer side. That's because all of that competition is making it harder than ever for companies to retain talent.

These days, employees are leaving their jobs for a host of reasons, from salary complaints to feeling bored with the work they're actually doing. But a surprising 31% of workers are quitting for one key reason: not having flexibility on the job. That's the latest from FlexJobs, which found that the number of workers who quit over a lack of flexibility has more than doubled since 2014, when only 13% left their jobs for that same reason.

Woman sitting on armchair and typing on laptop

Image source: Getty Images.

If your company has struggled to hang onto key players, it pays to consider offering your team a more flexible work arrangement. Otherwise, you might soon find yourself in the unenviable position of scrambling to fill important roles and sinking more time, money, and energy into the process than you can actually afford.

Giving employees some much-needed leeway

Many companies fear flexible work arrangements because they tend to create situations where managers have less direct oversight over their employees. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. When workers are granted the privilege of doing their jobs remotely, they tend to return the favor by stepping up and proving to their employers that they can be trusted to complete the tasks they're assigned on schedule, and without a lapse in quality.

In fact, there's a good chance you'll find that by being more flexible with your employees, they, in turn, will be more flexible with you. This means that if there's an after-hours emergency, you may not get as much pushback when workers are asked to stay late. Similarly, when weekend work is required, you might get a lot more volunteers than you would under a less flexible arrangement.

Being flexible might also make your employees more available to you. Imagine you have a group of workers who commute an hour to the office each way and aren't available during that time (say, they're driving or on a crowded train). By letting those employees telecommute, they'll suddenly become available during the times they would otherwise be in transit.

No matter how you look at it, there are plenty of ways you, as an employer, can benefit by being more flexible with your staff, so if you've yet to adopt such an arrangement, it pays to give it a go. You can start by letting proven performers work from home a few days a week. If things go smoothly, you can consider full-time or mostly full-time work-from-home arrangements, either for those same proven performers or across the board.

Another flexible arrangement to consider is letting employees set their own hours, provided their jobs allow for that (your receptionist, for example, probably needs to stick to a set schedule, whereas an editor in your content department probably has more latitude). This could mean allowing folks to come in early and leave early, or come in late and leave late if that's what they prefer. Or, it could mean letting employees compress their workweeks so that they're putting in four longer days instead of five shorter ones. There are plenty of options to play around with, but the key is to try different ones out and see which work best for both your employees and the business itself.

These days, technology makes it easy for employers to be more flexible, and employees, in turn, want more freedom. If your goal is to retain talent in the new year, it pays to think about the ways you can be more flexible with the folks who work for you. Otherwise, you might have to do a whole lot of unwanted hiring in the coming months.

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