A Quick Guide to Flexible Working

Flexible working is a way of scheduling work times and locations to the needs of employees. It’s a trend with broad appeal that’s catching on around the world, and the benefits it can offer to you and your employees make it worth considering.

How it Works

Employees have several choices when it comes to a flexible working schedule:

• Shift working
• Job sharing
• Working from home
Compressed work weeks

Many of these options involve splitting jobs or sharing workspace with other part-time and flexible workers. These types of schedules work best in companies that have employees in diverse life situations.

Benefits for Everyone

Implementing a flexible working policy allows employees to schedule required work hours around other obligations and to choose the times and places that provide the greatest opportunities for productivity. This gives employers access to a rotating pool of employees that can be utilized for a greater number of hours per week. At the same time, resource and space costs may be lower because it’s no longer necessary to have desks and equipment for each individual employee. Less work time is lost due to employees having to take days off for personal events, and this promotes a positive work-life balance that helps to maintain lower stress levels.

Implementing a Flexible Plan

As an employer, it’s up to you whether or not to offer flexible scheduling and what types of work situations you’ll allow. Meet with your staff to discuss what would be best for them, and make your decision based on what the majority will benefit from. Should you decide to include remote or home work in your plan, you’ll need to take into account the technology that will be necessary, such as cloud software to manage communication and projects and a time tracking solution to document hours worked offsite. Schedule regular in-person meetings and training sessions to keep everyone in the loop and to preserve a unified company culture.

Limitations and Precautions

Offering flexible work schedules carries some level of risk. Without a system in place to manage your workforce, it’s possible that some people could take their new schedules as excuses to do less work. It’s essential to set up a system of accountability in which employees are required to report time worked and to stay in close contact with a supervisor or team leader. Communication is especially important between employees working shared jobs in order to maintain cohesiveness in the work that gets done. To ensure a healthy flexible work plan, make sure that all policies are clearly laid out before and during implementation so that all employees understand what is expected of them.

Flexible working can improve the employee experience so that your staff is more productive and you experience less turnover. When workers don’t feel as stressed and have freedom to work in a way that supports their schedules, less time is lost to absenteeism and your business retains a greater capacity for growth.

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