Making a success of flexible working

Hello again!

Most businesses have got to grips with the theory behind flexible working and the benefits that it can offer – including considerable reductions in costs, increased efficiency and greater employee satisfaction.

Be warned though, flexible working is not only about getting the right technology in place to enable staff to work from home or on the road. It’s also about the processes, procedures and mindset that will make flexible working a successful strategy both for your business and your employees.

Here are a few key considerations:

What’s the plan – first work out who in the business needs access to flexible working and then think about the specific tools they will need. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution so base your purchasing decisions on your organisation’s individual requirements, budgets and growth plans

Spell it out – next set out a usage policy including who has the option to work flexibly, what reporting structures they will need to adhere to, what resources they will have access to, how they can be reached while out and what office-based team members will or won’t need to do in their absence

Keep them in the loop – remote or flexible workers who spend a lot of time out of the office can start to feel disconnected from their team members or the wider organisation. Keep them in the loop of all communication and involve them in team or company-wide discussions wherever possible – even if they have to login remotely – so they still feel part of the whole

Don’t be Big Brother – one of the key advantages of flexible working is increased productivity through the reduction of downtime so it’s important to give flexible workers the autonomy to make the best use of the extra time they gain from working remotely. Establish a reporting process that allows flexibility and freedom, but still gives team leaders visibility of ongoing actions and progress

Stay connected – whether by telephone, email or video conferencing there are a multitude of options for keeping in touch without necessarily being in the office. Make sure flexible workers have the resources to stay connected when they’re out – working remotely shouldn’t mean missed calls

Get help – while technology is a great enabler for business, it also has to be properly maintained. When you commit to a flexible working plan, make sure you have the IT support that can handle the demands of employees working away from the office

Keep an eye on it – change is usually the only constant in business. Monitor the ongoing progress of your flexible working system to make sure it stays relevant to your business needs as the organisation grows and evolves

Implementing flexible working does require careful thought about the processes, procedures and technologies that will make it work. Often it will also mean a subtle shift in mindset and culture. If you follow the above steps however, you will be well on your way to joining the flexible working revolution – and reaping the rewards flexible working has to offer!

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2 Responses

  1. This is great to see. According to The Ladders also, employers are starting to see the benefits of offering staff flexible working…

    With Mother’s Day this weekend, working mums across Britain will welcome the opportunity to put their feet up and relax, especially those who juggle a busy work and family schedule. For many time poor executives Sunday is a chance to consider their work life balance. How can they balance a career with family responsibilities? Should family life take second place to that top job? The answer in 2010 is no, as companies are more open to relaxing policies and allowing for flexible working packages.

  2. […] may consider allowing flexible working during the World Cup but if you do, make sure you have the right tools in place to support it. If […]

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