A business should always be trying to improve productivity among its employees. This can be done through a number of ways, such as rewards and pay rises. However, many management systems are reactive rather than proactive and can fail to address the problem of why productivity may be down in the first place. Could flexible working help to actively get to the heart of the issue?
What is Flexible Working?
Flexible working is geared towards the needs of an employee at an organization or company. Owing to legislation from the UK government, it is now possible for any employee in Britain to request to work flexibly. Although it is not a legal requirement for a company to accept the request, it is important that companies are able to adapt to the various new issues that flexible working may raise. These include staff scheduling and which workforce management solutions may be appropriate to deal with this.
Benefits of Flexible Working
A number of benefits are associated with flexible working. Such an arrangement can prove much less stressful for an employee, which has obvious health benefits for that individual. The employer also feels the benefits of a happy, and contented, worker, with improved efficiency and a reduction in the likelihood of that person suffering burnout due to the demands of a job.
Research conducted by the Michigan State University Family Resource Centre in the USA has shown that productivity among employees working flexible hours also increases. One reason for this is that employees are able to schedule work around their day, rather than the other way around, which enables them to concentrate fully when at work. This also means that an employee is less likely to miss work through conflicting schedules, such as a family funeral.
Of course, there is the other side of flexible working, with some potential drawbacks. Included in this is the possibility for reduced teamwork, with employees working on the same job not always available at the same time. An employee working flexibly from home, meanwhile, may not have the correct guidance they need should they be struggling to complete a task. However, these problems can be overcome if management of flexible working is performed correctly.
While an employee may be working flexibly, it is important for a company to set them clear goals and expectations. These should be quantifiable targets, not those that simply refer to the number of hours spent on a project.
To ensure that employees receive the help they need when they are working flexibly, it is important that they have complete remote connectivity, with someone on hand to respond quickly to any queries they may have about a project.
Scheduled, mandatory meetings can help to improve bonds between workers and maintain teamwork. Employees should also have access to the office should they need it.
To deal with any potential scheduling conflict that can arise with flexible working, it is important to introduce some structure to the system. This can be done with the use of employee scheduling software, which allows employers to quickly see when employees plan to work and ascertain if there are any clashes in respective diaries.