Flexibility at work is high up on the list of benefits employees want and look for in prospective companies they are considering. When people think of flexibility at work, hybrid and remote work often is what comes to mind and a part of that is linked to autonomy. While some guidance and guardrails are necessary for most roles, giving employees more autonomy and decision-making abilities leads to happier, more creative, and more fulfilled employees. That said, there is a lot of nuance to this and the amount of autonomy will depend on the person, the industry, and the company organization. In today’s blog, we will look at the benefits of autonomy in the workplace and how organizations can start appealing to those looking for more autonomy in their roles.
Benefits of Autonomy
Autonomy at work tends to lead to greater creativity, motivation, and job satisfaction. In an article on Forbes, they write, “Having autonomy over your work fuels intrinsic motivation. When you’re given agency over your life, you’re more likely to feel inspired and motivated because your employer trusts and believes in you. When you feel entrusted to do your job as you see fit, you’re more likely going to feel intrinsically motivated to work for the work itself.”
Ways to Implement Autonomy in the Workplace
Some of the ways companies can implement more autonomy in their workplace is with flexibility on work hours, the location of where they work, and what projects and assignments they choose to spend the majority of their time on. There are also smaller ways to offer employees autonomy at work such as letting employees decorate their cubicles or workspaces in whatever manner they’d prefer. In an article in Harvard Business Review, they write, “Organizations that give employees the autonomy to choose their ideal way of working and support them with the right principles, training, and tools will result in a more flexible, more motivated, and higher performing workforce.” In a separate article in Harvard Business Review they write, “When leaders give employees the freedom to choose where and when they work, it signals that they trust them to do the job they were hired to do. The data shows that that trust is then paid back to leaders and teams at a very high rate, building a tight-knit culture of inclusivity and belonging. With the right spaces and technology in place, employers enable employees to create structure in the way they work, thereby improving the employee experience.”