The increase in flexible working has been driven by technological advancements, such as WiFi and software allowing employees to connect securely to company networks and shared drives. Industry dependant, work no longer needs to take place during fixed times or locations, and this has had a big impact on the modern way of working.
So, what is flexible working?
It is not simply working from home in a ‘normal’ working pattern, it’s much more fluid. Employees can work different days; condense their hours; work remotely and everything in between. Flexibility allows those who would have left the workforce either temporarily, or permanently to stay in work by achieving a good work-life balance.
Benefits are felt by both the employee and employer
Research has found that a poor work-life balance is the number one reason for quitting a job**, it is no wonder that flexible working is one of the most sought-after employee benefits amongst job seekers. It is easy to see how offering flexible working aids recruitment and retention.
Flexible working doesn’t just allow employees to achieve the coveted work-life balance, as 89% of employees believe flexible working is key to boosting productivity levels and believe that it increases their productivity and efficiency***.
5 tips for making flexible working a success:
- Find the right balance – to make home working work for both the employee and employer, the work pattern needs to be agreed upon. Sometime this will require a certain amount of flexibility and compromise on both sides.
- Invest in equipment to make it work – there needs to be the initial outlay for equipment such as mobiles, laptops and security software. In addition, for regular homeworkers, the work station set-up may need to be assessed to create a safe working environment.
- Security software and procedure – ensure all security and procedures are adhered to regardless of working pattern or location, and use software to provide access safely to company networks and shared drives.
- Communication is key– working as part of a team may be more difficult when not in regular face-to-face contact with colleagues. Office visits, good workflow management systems and video conferencing are ways to ensure clear communication.
- Assess what’s working and what’s not – if an element of flexible working isn’t working for the company or the employee, then this should be raised, and there should be some flexibility in adjusting the arrangement if needs be.
- Don’t forget to treat your flexible working employees the same as you would treat any other – include them in team socials, invite them to events and include them in internal engagement communications and activities.