The London Olympic Games was a fantastic catalyst for the strategy as companies up and down the country trial different flexible working patterns – and it went down like a storm.
According to research by Cisco, 35% of business now feel that location of work will be irrelevant in the next two to three years.
The benefits of offering flexible working are well-known. It can boost productivity by cutting travel times, increase job satisfaction and open up employment to people who can’t work to traditional time schedules such as parents and carers. Getting it right can be a win-win for you and your employees.
But flexible working can throw up some challenges for employers too. There are certain steps they can take to avoid these becoming problems. Here are my top five:
Have a clear flexible working policy
If you approach offering flexible working without putting a policy in place you may run into problems down the line. The team needs to know where they stand and that there is not one rule for one and a different for another.
Are there certain roles that will never be suitable for flexible working? Are there times of the year when it won’t work for the company? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking and turning into a clear guide.
Make sure people have the tools they need
If you have organised for a member of staff to work flexibly, make sure you know they have the tools they need to work remotely. This might mean ensuring they have the correct hardware they need to carry out tasks and also that they have remote access to essential materials such as documents, emails threads etc. Do they have access to emails on their phones? For example.
Make security a priority
When your employees are accessing work related documents outside of the office you need to ensure that their personal devices are secure to avoid any security breaches.
A strong business security package should be installed on all devices and smart phones should also use a security app like AVG for Mobile. This means that wherever your employees are, you know how secure your data is.
Make sure everybody is clear on their responsibilities
When everyone is not in the same building or room, the chances of tasks falling through the cracks can rise. If everybody is well aware of what they and their colleagues are working on this should stop things getting neglected.
There is a lot of software which can help your employees to continue communicating their work to each other. Cloud software such as Google Docs allow employers to work on documents together in real time, leaving comments as they go so everybody knows where they are at.
Ensure there are regular face-to-face meetings
If someone is working flexibly, you should ensure that you have regular meetings to maintain a connection between the employee and the company culture. Sharing of ideas and collaboration can start to get lost if there isn’t regular contact at the office.
May 3, 2013