How to make flexible working work

Flexible working is more common in the workplace than ever before – it’s even enshrined in legislation, following the introduction of new flexible working laws in 2014 – but reports that the traditional nine-to-five is dead appear to be well wide of the mark.

According to a survey from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, almost three quarters (73%) of UK companies still don’t offer this option to all their staff – if your workplace is one of them, here’s why you need to get on board to avoid getting left behind.

Flexible working by numbers

This infographic from Sage, the business accounting software giants, outlines the current state of flexible working in the UK…

Staying safe in the cloud: infographic
This infographic was produced by sage.co.uk

Although it highlights how flexible working is on the increase, the real standout figures are that just 6% of quality job vacancies mention flexible working, while 92% of generation Y (those born in the 80s and 90s) identify it as a priority when selecting a workplace.

This means that there is a lot of young talent out there that may not even be applying for some top jobs – so if you want to make flexible working work for your business, the first thing to do it let prospective employees know it’s an option.

How to make flexible working work

Flexible working isn’t right for all businesses and all employees, but if you think your operation is equipped to offer it, there are a number of ways to make sure it works for you:

Take a tailored approach

One of the main mistakes companies make when offering flexible working to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, but in order to get the most out of your employees it needs to be tailored to fir their needs.

So work with your employees, or potential employees, to come to an arrangement that suits all parties.

Keep everyone in the loop

It’s also important to make sure there’s no breakdown in communication between office-based and home-based employees, and although email and instant messenger software can help make sure everyone is kept up to speed, it’s also worth having a conference call facility in place for group meetings.

Set clear guidelines

It’s important that everyone knows what is expected of them when it comes to flexible working, and that goes for both employer and employee – while a lot of companies say they support flexible working, employees often find their experience of what is or isn’t permissible is driven by the line manager and their attitudes.

So set clear guidelines to help remove personal attitudes from influencing who, when and how flexible working is permitted, and manage employees expectations.

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