There are many factors that influence people’s happiness at work, from the general atmosphere to some of the additional perks and benefits that come with their role. But for modern workers, one of the most important is flexible working, with a study from Powwownow finding that more than three-quarters of UK employees believe this would make them more productive.
A flexible working policy allows people the freedom, within reason, to set their own working hours, fitting their work schedule around their life, rather than the other way around. It’s all about not rigidly enforcing the traditional 9 to 5 and letting people work at times that better suit their own personal needs.
A survey from XpertHR found that more than half of businesses have seen a rise in flexible working requests in the past two years as the practice becomes increasingly widespread. But why is it so popular and how can you implement flexible working in your workplace?
The benefits of flexible working
There are many benefits to be had from giving your workers greater freedom to set their own work schedules.
The benefits of flexible working include:
- Boosting the work-life balance of workers by allowing them to fit their work around their family life, including dropping the kids off at school. Happier workers are less likely to leave, avoiding retention issues.
- Avoiding unnecessary absence by giving people the chance to work from home where they might otherwise feel the need to call in sick or use holiday.
- Allowing people to skip a stressful commute. It might also be considered greener to avoid forcing people into congested traffic jams during rush hour.
- Boosting productivity. Canada Life Group Insurance found that 77 per cent of employees feel flexible working helps them be more productive.
How to implement flexible working
While the benefits of flexible working are plentiful, implementing such a policy can feel like a real overhaul. After all, you still need to run your office smoothly and be able to track what your staff are doing and when. Follow our top tips and make the transition to flexibility an easier one.
Setting core hours
You can establish some sense of structure by setting out core hours. These are the times or days when you need people to be in the office – around which workers can make up the rest of their schedule to what best suits them. Setting these lays out the parameters of the policy and gives people an idea of what’s expected of them.
What level of contact should be kept when people are out of the office? How can tasks be monitored and split? How can people remotely access their work in a way that doesn’t compromise data security? How far in advance do people need to alert managers to flexible working and where is this monitored? Once these questions have been answered, you’ll be operating on more solid foundations.
Flexible working requests
People need to be clear about how to request flexible working arrangements – and managers need to be aware of policies so that they can react appropriately. Laying out things like how far in advance people need to request flexible hours or how they let their manager know can help set the tone.
These requests should be as simple as possible – operate on an ‘assumed consent’ basis if you want to make people feel like they’re not asking for a favour when working from home or changing their hours for a day. You need a process – but you don’t need this process to be too overbearing.
Based in London or visit the capital often for work? Check out our guide to London’s flexible working hotspots.