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Flexible working options is an appealing benefit organisations can offer when attracting and retaining employees.
It creates a sense of trust between employees and management, where employees are given the freedom to operate in ways that they believe to be the most effective.
The mutual trust and respect this type of arrangement demands can help create a positive workplace culture and likely improve morale and satisfaction. Albeit, a mutual understanding, and policies need to be put in place, in order to ensure expectations are clear from the beginning. Otherwise, employees can become complacent in their own hours and managers can lose control and managerial authority over their staff.
To avoid this and capitalise on the potential of flexible working, these are a few points that hiring managers can consider:
Employee benefits and rewards can take a variety of forms, with monetary rewards being stereotypically the most commonly used. However, not all members of the workforce are necessarily motivated by money, and some desire more personable benefits that are relevant to them.
Therefore, flexible working is a fantastic option. It gives employees an opportunity to arrange their working hours around their personal life, which can prove to be highly beneficial and improve employee satisfaction. It can help people manage non-work related commitments, such as commuting, childcare, studying, etc, as people can choose to work the hours that suit them best. Furthermore, it enables employees to work to their own schedules by working when they feel most productive. This ultimately reduces ‘down time’ and can improve the quality of work, as employees feel more inspired and motivated.
Flexible arrangements are mainly used to devise specific working hours, albeit it should also be used to encourage employees to take time away from work. Creating allocations of hours outside of work provides employees with the opportunity to complete personal tasks, and take time for themselves and their family. This can increase motivation and reduce external pressure that may be affecting their performance. This can be as simple as encouraging a ‘switched off’ mentality, in that after employees leave the office, they aren’t expected to be contactable – unless it’s an absolute emergency. This enables them to separate their work life and home life, which promotes a healthy work-life balance and gives employees time to recharge.
There is a multitude of possible flexible working arrangements businesses can offer employees. However, choosing how much flexibility, or the type of flexibility, to offer employees can be a difficult decision. Below are a few options:
Companies can include flexibility in terms of the physical working environment they offer employees. This could involve hot desking, which enables different employees to share a workspace at different times. This could be an option if employees need to be in the office a few days a week, but can work from home most of the time.
Additionally, the business could offer job sharing, whereby two employees are hired to do the same job and they share the responsibilities equally. This gives employees the ability to work part-time, whilst sharing the workload of one full-time job with another person, which reduces stress and increases flexibility.
Whilst self-explanatory, remote working allows employees to work from any location, usually from home. This can be valuable for the employee and employer, as it’s cost-effective, due to not having to commute, for the employee and renting less/or no office space, for the employer. Additionally, 77% of employees reported being more productive when working remotely, as they are free from office distractions.
This is another option for a flexible working arrangement, as employees can work the same number of weekly hours, but in a shorter number of days. For example, working Tuesday-Friday from 8 am – 7 pm and having Mondays off.
ROWE is a modern concept, that a lot of start-ups are employing, whereby employees are measured on their output and not on the number of hours they’ve worked. This approach gives employees the freedom to work to their own hours and schedules, in order to do their job to the best of their ability, whilst only being measured by their performance.
Although this approach to flexible working can be liberating and beneficial – it’s also difficult to measure, especially if employees’ roles aren’t designed to be easily measured.
Whatever flexible working approach you decide to implement, be sure to consider the benefits and pitfalls of each and how they would impact your business. Additionally, it’s imperative to develop policies and procedures outlining expectations and the extent of flexibility.
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