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In a world that is embracing technology, and where businesses need to adapt to stay competitive, flexible working might be the tool you need to stay ahead of the competition.
What is Flexible Working?
Generally, flexible working means that employees have some say in how, where or when they work. Put simply, it s a way of working that suits an employee’s needs as well as your own. The question you need to ask is, how can flexible working, work for me?
Flexible working has the potential to have a positive impact on staff well being and, as demonstrated in previous blog posts, a happy, healthier workforce can only be good for business and productivity. By giving employees the freedom to balance their home and work lives, you are creating an environment that, yes, motivates your staff, but also fosters loyalty and commitment from your workforce. Flexibility, therefore, becomes a two-way street in which you take care of employees’ needs and they become more invested in taking care of the business. Without the restrictions of rigid work patterns, employees can support your business when you need it the most.
As well as creating a more loyal work force, flexibility means that staff don’t have to take time off if a child is sick or a water pipe bursts. Instead you have created culture where staff are able and more likely to work from home. This means productivity doesn’t suffer and neither do your employees. Everyone’s a winner.
Some companies may be concerned about rising costs or falling productivity, but research almost certainly supports the idea the the benefits of flexible working are wide ranging. A recent survey by Vodaphone indicated that 83% of global companies offering flexible working improved their productivity. 58% said it had boosted their reputation.
3 out of 5 (61%) said that flexible working had a direct effect on their profit and loss statement by increasing their company’s earnings. This contradicts the idea that productivity and profits might drop if flexible working is introduced into a business.
Flexible working is becoming increasingly more common in the workplace. If you want to attract and retrain the best employees, then offering flexible working might just give your company the edge. In fact, flexible working is one of the key elements mentioned in reviews of Glass Door’s 20 Highest Rated UK Companies for Work-Life Balance.
How to Make It Work
If you are going to make flexible working work for you, you must focus on organisation and communication.
Communication needs to be clear and precise. Make sure that expectations are clear in terms of performance and productivity. It is necessary to make sure that team members know that the work is still being done even if their colleague is not necessarily in the same building. Therefore, it is vital that you establish systems, such as a shared Google Calendar that allow team members to know when and where their team are.
It is also important to ensure that all staff feel part of the team regardless of when and where they work. By embracing technology innovations such as Google Hangouts, Skype and Slack, you can include all team members in regular meetings and even the office chatter, no matter where they happen to be working on any given day.
Review and Reflect
Flexible working is only going to work for you if you regularly review the systems you have in place. Keep communication lines open. Discuss the pros and cons of flexible working with your staff. Identify any improvements in productivity as well as well being of staff. Look for opportunities to reward success. Your review periods might also be a good time to address any issues or causes for concern in order to keep flexible working, working for you and your business.
Overall flexible working provides many great opportunities for your business and your staff. As technology develops you are in a great position to be a modern employer embracing cutting edge systems and working practices that attract and retain the most talented employees.