Is flexible working working for you?

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Tuesday May 6th is Flexible Working Day, a day to reward and recognise the companies who showcase how flexible working works and its many advantages. Is it a coincidence that it falls the day after a Bank Holiday when flexible working has such a dodgy reputation? There are many benefits to employers of allowing employees to focus on what they do rather than when they do it including stronger loyalty, higher contentment levels and greater productivity. Here are some key factors to help you make flexible working successful for your team:

  1. Monitor – no matter where your employees are working, make sure you know what they are up to and that they are delivering what you need. When building up the necessary trust for flexible working arrangements, ensure your team complete what is expected, for example a piece of work or hit a deadline. This will also alleviate sniping from their co-workers.
  2. Tailor – all types of employees value flexible working and different arrangements suit different types of people. For example, a 20-something who wants to travel may wish to buy extra holiday allowance whereas a 40-something Dad wants to get to sports day or a school play. Consider the various types of arrangements that will work so that you get the maximum bang for your buck.
  3. Be fair – one hassle you do not need as a boss is an accusation of unfairness, or general carping in your team. Everyone should be making the same relative contribution whether a young professional or a working mum. Set your baseline expectations for what you expect to be delivered in terms of quality and quantity of work and then reward your team with flexibility on top of that. For example, maybe everyone needs to work 40 hours a week as a minimum of which 28 hours need to be in the office. Maybe the rest can be worked remotely and overtime has a cash or time-off value.
  4. Have face time – for teams to be successful, they need to have strong inter-personal relationships, good communication and shared goals. This can only be achieved through frequent face-to-face working. Therefore set core times at which everyone must work physically in the office and have team meetings to suit. Have your one-on-meetings weekly or fortnightly, also in person. You must put the energy in to keeping strong personal bonds to alleviate any of the challenges to your team which come from flexible working.

It is more important to you that your team do a good job than when or where they do it, for the most part, so keep these simple tips in mind to ensure the rewards to you from supporting flexible working arrangements outweigh the hassle.

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3 Comments on “Is flexible working working for you?”

  1. Flexiworkforce (@flexiworkforce)
    May 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Great article, there is definitely not enough practical advice out there for employers considering flexible working, do you have much experience of flexible working?

  2. Penny Davenport
    May 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    Thanks very much for your kind comment. Yes, indeed, I have experience of flexible working on a number of fronts. I “enjoyed” this benefit around the turn of the Millenium when it was on trend. I really needed this benefit when I worked in a corporate role as a Mum to young kids. I had employees maximise their usage of flexible working and others who took liberties. And, now I’m a flexible worker extraordinaire as a small business owner and mother. Its a topic I am very interested in in my capacity as a career coach. Thanks again.

  3. Rebecca Newenham (@GetAheadVA)
    June 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Great article Penny – I run a team of virtual assistants and 75% of them are mothers, as am I, so we all know the importance of working flexibly but still maintaining team work too.

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