Flexible working hours are becoming increasingly popular in the modern working place.
And with the recent changes in UK law that allow any longstanding employee to request flexible working, it is set to become even more popular.
If you find yourself unsure whether you should allowing flexible working in your business, your apprehension is understandable. Many businesses believe it to be costly and unproductive, with a detrimental impact on the quality of work. However, studies carried out over the last 5 years have proven these preconceptions to be incorrect. In fact, the studies resoundingly point to flexible working hours as the indicator for increased productivity and motivation in the workplace.
Want to give it a go, but don’t know where to start? Check out our guidelines on how to implement flexible working hours profitably and productively…
WHERE TO START?
First consider the advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you are going into it with your eyes open and know what to expect.
Know the benefits for your business and for your employees – could you achieve better results with more flexible working arrangements? Do you have busy and quiet periods during the day that could be handled more efficiently with more or fewer employees? Would offering flexible working hours help to attract new staff and motivate your existing staff?
Benefits for your business:
- Potential as a recruitment tool
- Ability to deliver customer service on a 24/7 basis
- More efficient use of facilities, e.g. desks and computers
Benefits for your team:
- Better work-life balance
- Avoid commuting during rush hour
- Ability to schedule work during quiet times
Flexible working can take on many forms, whether it be flexitime, shift working, or job sharing, so make sure you know what you want to offer to your employees and what the related benefits could be.
DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR TEAM
Involve your team in making it happen. Find out what flexible approaches would benefit your team the most and make sure everyone has the opportunity to offer feedback. Your team will have their own suggestions, and possibly even a list of concerns, and it’s important that the process works for everyone involved.
Be clear from the onset how work will be carried out under the new flexible approach, how your customers’ needs will be met and what processes will need to be put in place to make sure it happens.
Communication will become even more important in a flexible working environment, so keep the communication rolling with your staff, even when they are outside of the office. If your staff are based in different locations and working at different times, you will need to install certain processes that enable your team to keep communicating with each other. Organise regular times for the entire team to meet up face-to-face, and use technology to set up conference calls or online meetings.
MEASURE THE RESULTS
There would be no point in implementing flexible working hours if your business didn’t start to see some of the benefits outlined above.
Before you start, make sure your team knows exactly what you expect them to achieve and when. You may have to reassess how you measure employee success; focusing on their productivity rather than the number of hours they have worked.
Trusting your employees is really important in making a success of flexible working. You will need to trust your employees to do the work that has been assigned to them, however they want to organise their time. To manage this more effectively, you might want to consider creating a new working structure, where workloads are organised into distinct projects with defined outcomes. This should make it easier to measure productivity and see what is actually being achieved.
MAKE THE MOST OF TECHNOLOGY
We’re better equipped than ever before to effectively manage flexible working hours. With the cloud, smart phones, email and other remote working software, it’s possible for your staff to access emails and files from anywhere.
In fact, advances in technology make it not only possible for your employees to work flexibly, but for managers to work flexibly too. You can communicate with your staff, assign tasks, track working hours and review their performance all with the help of a simple piece of workforce management software.
Of course, the importance of meeting to face-to-face shouldn’t be forgotten. But given that there have been so many studies pointing towards the benefits of flexible working, it might just be worth your while giving it a try.
We’re excited to offer you a free trial of our workforce management software. Just send us your details and we’ll be in touch.