Flexible working: How to adopt and manage it successfully.
by Gabriele Kaier, 11.04.2017
More and more companies are offering flexible schedules and the ability to work from home. Companies want to benefit from work flexibility which can help save costs, reduce employee turnover and attract and retain top talent. But how can you avoid a drop in productivity by making your workplace more flexible? This article provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges associated with flexible working.More and more companies are offering flexible schedules and the ability to work from home. They want to benefit from flexible working which can help save costs, reduce employee turnover and attract and retain top talent. According to a survey 80 percent of all U.S. companies offer flexible work arrangements. Meanwhile, telecommuting has grown by 103 percent in the last ten years. The most common flexible work arrangements are telecommuting, part-time working, and flexible hours – where an employee can flexibly arrange some or all of their hours. But how can you avoid a drop in productivity by making your workplace more flexible? This article provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges associated with flexible working.
Keep in mind some challenges associated with flexible working.However, there can also be downsides when considering flexible hours, especially if a company doesn’t formally implement flexibility. Competition and distrust amongst employees as well as potential legal pitfalls like wage-hour fraud, e-mail abuse, theft and misappropriation, invasion of privacy, social media issues, workplace accidents, and employer liability for misconduct. Among the greatest challenges that such companies face are communication, tracking productivity, issues of employee trust and sustaining the company culture. But how can you avoid a drop in productivity while implementing a flexible workplace? To meet both your business needs and the needs of your employees Sara Sutton Fell from FlexJobs recommends preparing a flexible work strategy. She is convinced that flexible work programs can work well for companies which engage a proper strategy, a trial period as well as enforce constant open communication.
5 opportunities for best practice
- Work out a flexible-work strategy First, create a plan regarding which departments and employees will have access to flexible hours and what flexible work options they will be offered. Determine who has the final say on any flex-work arrangements. Figure out department-wide as well as for each individual case performance metrics for tracking productivity. And finally, make sure that the strategy is clear to everyone who is involved.
- Create a pilot Before implementing a company-wide program use a trial program on one department or a group of employees to work out weak spots and get real data.
- Make a communication plan Find ways to ensure continuous communication and collaboration within your teams. Make a communication plan and use online tools which support it to stay connected. Without the right communication plan, your program is doomed to fail. Here you can find some helpful online-tools.
- Flexwork does not fit to every employee Working flexible schedules and telecommuting require specific traits that not every employee has. But this does not mean that you should not apply a flex working program as such a program will obviously offer advantages to the majority of the employees.
- Train managers and supervisors on working with flexible workers Managing flexible workers is not the same as managing traditional ones. Managers have to pay constant attention and be available via different communication methods. Schedule regular phone and face-to-face meetings which offer time for discussion and brainstorming and ensure that no team members are left outside. Monitor schedules and time spent on projects.