Flexible working as a business win-win

August 10th 2016 | Posted by phil scott

Flexible Working as a Business Win-Win

On 30th June this year, flexible working became a legal right for UK employees. Considered as a huge leap forward by many, and a big potential problem by others, it’s been met with undeniably polarised opinions.
Step into the world of the recruitment agent, and flexible working has been something of a familiar concept for quite some time, with the emphasis on it providing employers with a way of accessing high calibre talent on a temporary, contract basis, deploying them to areas of need.
Yet, apply the rule of working flexibly into the context of the permanent workforce on a day-to-day level, and the idea of using a person, their skills and their time effectively instantly becomes muddied.

Flexibility and engagement

Essentially, employers are making a statement by offering this new way of working. The declaration of course, is that you, the employer, trusts your employee to deliver a consistently high level of work on time, but perhaps through working modified hours, or working from home.
Such a message is almost certainly going to be adopted by employees as a positive and motivating thing. And not only that, but working on a flexible basis can offer greater levels of customer service, relief during business pressure points and it keeps employees engaged by allowing them to balance their work and life commitments, which in turn makes them feel positive about the company they work for.
The key is using this way of working as a powerful tool for both company and workforce. Keeping a strong line of communication is the most effective way of managing people on flexible working contracts.
Regular meetings need to be in place to deepen connections, encourage engagement and offer support, and crucially, flexible working should never be considered as unlimited working. Despite irregular office hours, employees still have a clear right to downtime.

Have structure

One of the major fears is the prospect of a huge influx of requests from staff to change hours or place of work. The best advice in response to this is to put a plan in place, and a sensible and fair policy to support managers and team leaders when faced with such requests.
Each case must be treated on its own merits. Every job role will have different requirements in terms of whether it needs to be office-based, or cover specific hours in line with business need, but this doesn’t mean that a framework around flexible working from a company-wide perspective can’t help as a starting point, and a guidance tool for both employees and managers.
In summary, a smart approach is to embrace the possibilities that flexible working can offer an organisation. It’s undoubtedly a powerful way of engaging with employees and deploying their skills in a way that suits them, and benefits the business. By considering flexible working from this perspective, it can prove an innovative and interesting solution to business efficiency.