Flexible working is become more widespread in the business world, with many organizations choosing to adopt flexible working practices. Flexible working is particularly popular in Europe and has been proven to improve work/life balance as well as increase productivity in the workplace.
If you’re thinking about seeking flexible working, or you’re a business owner looking to roll out to your employees, then it’s important to read up on all the facts first. Having the right information will help you make an informed decision and ensure the right approach to flexible working.
Is it time you pursued flexible working? Get the information you need below.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working allows employees to choose working hours that suit their needs. This can be done by requesting part-time working or a job share, adjusting start and finish times and being able to work from home.
Flexible working offers benefits for both employees and employers, and although there are some downsides to flexible working, many companies who have implemented it have experienced the benefits.
The benefits of flexible working
Flexible working has many benefits that can benefit mothers and families. Discussing them with your employer could help them see the advantages for their business and put them into action. Some of the things to consider when it comes to flexible working include:
Flexible working can help employees to save money. Being able to choose your working hours can reduce the need for childcare and can affect commuting times.
Beneficial for parents
Flexible working is particularly valuable for parents. Being able to work around the school run, and cutting down on childcare means women can find it easier to return to the workplace after maternity leave and ensures parents get to spend more time with their families.
It saves time
Flexible working can save employees time, helping them to feel more energized while they’re in the office. Instead of being stuck in rush-hour traffic or having to stand on a busy commuter train, employees can choose to arrive/depart work at a time that suits them and free up time in their day as a result. Choosing the right commute has shown that workers can be happier and healthier
Better work/life balance
Having a better work-life balance has benefits for employees and businesses, with workers feeling healthy and happy when their work-life balance is in order. Employees have the option to leave earlier in the day or work from home, allowing them to pursue other interests and hobbies outside of the workplace.
It reduces absenteeism
Having flexible working policies means that your business is less likely to suffer from absenteeism. People can use their flexible schedules to plan appointments around the working day. Flexible working can also help to reduce stress, giving your employees the freedom they need to choose their own working patterns.
It empowers your employees
Providing flexible working to employees can empower them to be their own bosses. They’ll be able to choose their working patterns and learn to prioritize workloads to work to their own schedules. If an employee knows that they are more productive in the morning, they can come in earlier and get stuck in, leaving earlier in the day to enjoy life outside of the office.
It makes your company a more desirable place to work
When seeking work, more and more people are looking at the bigger picture instead of just salary and job title. Having employee benefits and compensation is important, and flexible working can really help to set your company apart from others. Flexible working is a considered a perk and is something for employees to look out for when choosing a job.
It reduces your carbon footprint
If you’re an environmentally-conscious workplace, then reducing your business’ carbon footprint will be a high priority. With better commuting times and fewer people in the office at once, your business can drastically reduce its carbon footprint and ensure better your business is tackling green policies from multiple angles.
Disadvantages of flexible working
While flexible working offers an overwhelming amount of benefits, it also comes with its drawbacks, some of which include:
Impact on other workers
Some employees thrive in a busy office environment, and having multiple people out of the office at once could change the working environment.
Work can take longer to complete
When people work to different schedules, it can affect the time it takes for work to get completed. Sign off processes can take longer due to people not being in the office, and work streams can take more time.
Potential security issues
Working from home means that IT systems need to be upgraded to ensure that they’re secure and work effectively off-site. Issues can arise due to theft or data breaches which are much harder to control out of the office. However, there are ways to combat IT security issues linked to home working that can improve this practice.
Abuse of the system
If the right policies aren’t implemented, people can soon start to abuse the flexible working system. An element of trust in your employees is needed that they will do the right thing, but you might also want to consider ways of monitoring working hours to ensure everyone is doing what they say they are doing.
Implementing flexible working
Implementing a successful flexible working program takes time, and should involve your employees at every stage. If you’re wondering how to get the most out of remote working, then the following tips can help:
Consult with staff
While flexible working might be becoming more popular – many people might still be unsure about what it is. Staff need to be consulted about why you’re considering flexible working, what it involves and the impact it will have on them.
Create a flexible working policy
A flexible working policy will help to outline the details of your flexible working scheme and ensures employees know the rules and know how to find further information. This policy should outline everyone’s responsibilities and ensure employees know where to go to get help with flexible working.
Assess your processes
Flexible working isn’t suitable for all business areas, so a thorough analysis of your procedures and business functions can help you decide whether or not flexible working is suitable for your workplace, and to what degree. In some cases, flexible working might need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, rather than being an employee-wide policy.
Develop a monitoring system
The right monitoring system can help you stay on track of your employees’ work schedules and ensure that nobody is abusing the system. Introducing timesheets can be a way to make sure employees are keeping track of their working hours and ensure that they’re not doing too much/too little. You want to trust your employees and empower them to design their own work schedules, but having a monitoring system in place will help your peace of mind.
Plan events and corporate days
Flexible working environments can leave teams a little disjointed, so it’s important to plan social events that bring everyone together. Regular team-wide meetings can help improve the social element of the workplace and keep everyone connected. When organizing meetings, make sure that remote working employees are included and that they can join by phone or video if they wish.
Flexible working can be a great thing for both employers and employers, helping parents, in particular, to thrive at work. Whether you’re requesting flexible working for yourself or you’re looking to offer the policy to your employees, make sure you understand the ins and out of flexible working to help it work better for you.