How to Introduce Flexible Working That Actually Works
Tips for employers to move from a traditional working setup to a more flexible one.
Our latest survey into job seeker methods yielded some fascinating insights, not least that flexible working is by far the most important workplace benefit for modern job seekers. It’s therefore sensible that employers offer some form of flexible working if they want to attract and sign-up top talent.
For many companies, the move from a traditional working set-up to a more proactive, flexible working arrangement can be a daunting prospect. Therefore, here are some tips to make that transition a smooth one:
1.Develop a Proactive Flexible Working Policy
By law, employers in the UK are required to seriously entertain requests for flexible working from employees with 26 weeks service. But top job candidates aren’t usually able/willing to wait 26 weeks to have their flexible working wishes approved. They expect day-one flexible working benefits.
So, why not turn flexible working from a statutory requirement into an attractive proactive benefit that goes well beyond the call of duty by offering the right to request flexible working from day one.
You can then include this in your job adverts, e.g. ‘ Requests for Flexible Working Will Be Considered’. This will give you credibility as an employer of choice and should reduce your time-to-hire and give you a bigger pool of talent to select from.
2. Put Conditions on Flexible Working to Manage Risk and Safeguard your Business
There should be constraints around flexible working, because if left unregulated it may negatively impact business continuity, productivity, and customer-facing availability.
Create a reasonable barrier to entry so you are not overwhelmed with flexible working requests. It should be the responsibility of the employee wanting to work flexibly to build a business case for their need to work flexibly. This case should detail out the desired flexible working regime and should explain how it will benefit the individual and how any negative impact on productivity or continuity can be minimised/eliminated.
Flexible working requests should only be approved if it can be shown that it won’t be detrimental to the business. If the flexible working request is approved, then install a trial period for the flexible worker based around them maintaining specified performance levels.
Review the flexible working arrangement during performance appraisals to ensure that it is still working for the business.
3.Invest in Remote Working Technology
The optimal environment for flexible working is one where you have digitised your businesses processes and data and made them web-accessible. This means that staff can work at home, the airport, or another office just as easily as they can in the main office without a loss in productivity. It also means that staff can work according to fragmented/flexible working patterns but can still collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients. The kind of flexible working technologies that you should be investing in includes web-based: HR and finance databases, timesheets, file-sharing systems, shift-booking systems, client ticketing systems, chat, forums, wikis, video conferencing, personal, project collaboration technology and social media.
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