IBM made headlines earlier this year when it killed its telework program and forced employees to return to the office. Although IBM was an earlier promoter of untethering employees and letting them become more mobile, it appears that the tech giant is following a disturbing trend among large employers to limit flex and mobile work. Many other companies may be wondering if formalizing a flex and mobile work program is worth the effort. If you’ve been reading our monthly newsletters, you understand all of the important reasons for doing so. We’ve talked about culture, compliance, business continuity, engagement, strategy, policy, stressful commutes and how offering a choice of formal flex and mobile work programs can address and support these issues. This month we wanted to bring you a story of a company that successfully implemented a mobile work program that we worked with to help formalize their program, reduce their real estate footprint, and increase employee engagement.
A 3000-employee leading healthcare organization in New England.
This client was seeking to cut $3M of annual administrative expenses related to real estate costs while implementing an enterprise-wide mobile workforce initiative. While strong executive commitment existed to create a corporate-supported mobile work program, the client wanted to ensure changes did not diminish unique attributes of the existing corporate culture – ones that had been recognized in the community over multiple years as a Best of Boston–Great Place to Work.
Flexwork Global (FWG) partnered with a team of senior leaders across HR, Operations, IT and Real Estate to apply a strategic, integrated approach to the design and implementation of consolidating real estate and formalizing a mobile work initiative. During year one, this multifaceted engagement involved the development of an implementation roadmap with concurrent activities aligned with a pilot rollout across lines of business. FWG brought the executive team on site visits to view redesigned workspaces and learn best practices from regional employers undergoing similar changes, conducted an assessment among leaders and employees to establish quality of experience data, and performed an audit of multiple policies to create an updated corporate policy on mobile work. FWG also delivered training programs to leaders and employees on Leading and Managing High Performing Remote Work Teams; the training was integrated into the clients’ learning and development curriculum.
Results from year one were highly successful in achieving milestones: 20% of the client’s workforce moved to remote work and the organization achieved cost efficiencies by reducing space and occupancy expenses per employee. FWG also provided expert guidance on mobile workforce recognition, reward, and retention strategies as the client sought to expand the program and leverage a multi-modal communications strategy to further embed changes into the corporate culture.
To further identify business impact and ROI, FWG conducted an assessment on quality of experience of the mobile workforce to pinpoint successes and challenges in year two and beyond. This data helped executive leaders communicate accomplishments of the program while resolving challenges connected to tools & technologies and engaging a mobile workforce against the backdrop of a strong in-house culture. FWG also helped the leadership team develop baseline metrics to establish an ROI that demonstrated how reduction in space and mobile work helped the company meet human capital, corporate real estate, and IT goals. These metrics were designed for executive level dashboard reporting and are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
In consolidating real estate and opening-up workspace at headquarters, this client exceeded their expectations of embracing a formalized remote work initiative. 96% of the remote workforce reported very positive experiences with many citing the ability to be a mobile or flexible worker among key reasons they stay committed to their employer.
What did the client have to say?
“Flexwork Global helped us apply a strategic framework for highly successful corporate supported remote work initiative. They introduced best practices, created an integrated policy, conducted training programs, and assessments yielding insightful data that informed our decision making. Flexwork’s team also designed organizational baseline metrics & introduced an executive level dashboard for THP to track ROI and demonstrated the impact of a mobile workforce. We are continually ranked by our own employees as an employer of choice, and our remote work program is one more enhancement to our culture that employees find attractive. I recommend Flexwork to any organization looking to implement a successful remote work program” – CHRO