Do it right: Flexible working

Let your employees work on their own terms...

by
Last Updated: 24 Feb 2016

Clarify terms. Research has shown that even employers get confused by what flexible working actually means. If the people in charge don't understand the term, they are going to have a hard job instigating a policy.

Tell staff about it. A drastic change in working practices can be daunting and unsettling for staff. Set aside time to explain what exactly the new flexible working policy entails - and what it doesn't.

Trust your staff. Managers can get nervous if they can't see their staff toiling away. This paranoia is often heightened during the summer when bosses worry staff are topping up their tans rather than working on that P&L. Even if you can't see employees, it doesn't mean they aren't working.

Police it properly. Set key deliverables and metrics. Most staff will shine if given some freedom, but beware the unscrupulous few who take advantage.

Get the right kit. Technology can boost staff productivity wherever they are, but it can also reassure managers that work is still being done.

Keep on top of new legislation. Anyone can ask to work flexibly, but parents with kids aged 16 and under and carers have a statutory right to have their request taken seriously. David Cameron has often talked about extending the right to request to parents with offspring under 18.

Think about the benefits. Flexible working is credited with boosting productivity, improving staff loyalty and retention and reducing stress levels.

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