Flexibility is the future of work. It’s no secret that workers who crave a greater sense of work-life balance want flexibility, but employers also stand to benefit from flexible working arrangements. There are many different types of flexible working arrangements, including telecommuting, shorter workweeks, flex-time, and hot desking.
Some benefits of flexible working to employers include higher morale, lower levels of absenteeism, increased productivity, higher levels of retention, and the ability to attract higher quality employees. The following are 5 tips for successfully introducing flexible working into your office.
Flexible work has many advantages, but it is by no means something you should rush into. Carefully considering your approach to flexible work will ensure a smooth transition. Some factors to keep in mind when making your decision include how it will affect the quality of your products and services, whether there are success measurements you can put into place, how your customers can benefit, and what kind of software and equipment remote workers will need.
First, get the agreement and support of senior management. Then, talk to staff to get an idea of their wants and needs. The last thing you’d want to do is push a flexible working plan on your staff without prior consultation.
Include employees in the planning stage and seek their input as you develop a flexible work program. Be sure that managers understand the benefits of flexible working as well to motivate them about its benefits and ability to increase employee loyalty and productivity.
Sometimes, companies fail to do their homework and create flexible work arrangements that cause difficulties. For example, flexible work schedules could lead customers to complain about availability, or perhaps employees themselves aren’t enthusiastic about the change.
Flexible work isn’t right for everyone. Some employees, such as those who don’t work well independently, wouldn’t be a good fit for telecommuting. Additionally, for employees to be able to have a shorter work week with a compressed work schedule, they need to have physical and emotional stamina.
A pilot program allows you to try out flexible work and fine-tune your efforts over a limited timeframe. During this pilot period, you can encourage feedback from your staff and managers and then adjust your policy as needed. When the pilot period is complete, introduce a set of guidelines to educate employees and avoid confusion. Develop a formal written policy on your company’s flexible work plan that clearly states requirements and expectations.
Flexible work arrangements require continual improvements and developments to function optimally. Take the time to regularly assess your flexible work plan to ensure that it’s meeting your goals. From the onset, advise employees that you may decide to return to your prior, traditional work arrangements if the flexible work program doesn’t achieve the desired results.
Although flexible work arrangements take time and planning to implement, the benefits are well worth the effort. Add-On Products offers various tools for Microsoft Outlook® and Exchange that help your organization transition smoothly to a flexible work environment. Our meeting and resource booking software Resource Central can be used to book hot desks and other flexible workspaces, while our team calendar software WebTeam Central allows remote employees to keep track of their team members’ schedules anytime, anywhere. For more information about our add-ons, please sign up for a free online demo or free trial on our site today!