Flexible Working does not simply refer to where you work, but also when and how you work. If You can’t trust Your Employees to work flexibly, why hire them in the first place?
You have to trust your employees, to allow them to work flexibly
When I conducted some research with Millennials I found that flexible working was vital for any modern employee;
- 91 percent saying flexible working was important
- 92 percent saying they wanted the option to work from home
- 66 percent said they would prefer to work more in the office than at home and
- 0 percent saying they would want to work exclusively from home.
I have had a fair amount of experience of the various ways of working. While worked 100 percent in the office, 100 percent at home, a mixture of both and on the road travelling round the country. Sadly there is no utopia way of working as each scenario has its positives and negatives.
Flexible working doesn’t refer to; you work at home or office, but also when and how you work.
The important thing is that flexible working doesn’t refer to; you work at home or office, but also when and how you work. Flexible working should mean that you have the flexibility to manage your time and resources in a way that is most effective to you.
This allows you to be the most productive so;
- that the work is not only done,
- but gets done to best quality possible,
- whilst maintaining a better work life balance.
I learnt from my experience was that being ‘creative’ and applying yourself does not just happen in the office between the specified hours of 9-5. In such a competitive marketplace where these creative and innovative thoughts are the things that move businesses forward and set them apart. So it is vital to allow employees to work in a way that is best for them as it ensures motivation and creativity remain high and the best work is delivered time and again.
This flexible approach to work also helps businesses retain their best talent as they are giving their employees an option to do great work, but in a way that fits their lifestyle providing a win-win scenario for all.
Team meetings may have a few fixed days and times when everyone has to be in the office
All this being said, the practicalities of business mean that you do need to have team meetings and be face to face at times. But this can easily be solved by having a few fixed days and times when everyone has to be in the office. For example, you can schedule that every Monday and Wednesday between 10 and 2 everyone has to be in the office.
In conclusion, all core meetings and department meetings could be held between these times. For the rest of the week, the staff have the ability to work flexibly in order to deliver the work required.
When key meetings do need to happen outside of these allotted times, you can easily get on a video call or share your screen from anywhere.
Flexible working can not happen without trust
However, for all the benefits that flexible working brings and the new ways of working offered by technology, none of it can happen without trust. Unfortunately many companies have the mentality of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, i.e. if they cannot see you they do not think you are working. This is why the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer’s decision in 2013 to ban all remote working was so controversial. Many saw her decision as she didn’t trust her staff that they will work properly if they were not present in the office.
Also, statistics show that people who do work away from the office overcompensate with their communication and work longer to show their colleagues they are in fact working. Because many have the negative view that those working remotely are just having a day off. This mentality and lack of trust defeats the point of working flexibly in the first place as you end up working more hours and feel guilty. Hence it means working the set hours in the office would have been the better option.
Modern businesses need to remove the old habits ingrained from the industrial era
Modern businesses need to remove the old habits ingrained from the industrial era where you went to a single place of work between 9 and 5 every day to perform standardised tasks.
Instead they need to recognise that the world has moved on, modern service based jobs are significantly different to the manufacturing jobs of the past, technology has improved and become widely available and people work differently. They need to trust their employees to take accountability of their own workload and time management to get things done. Whether this is at 9 am in the office or 9 pm at home.
If businesses cannot trust their employees to work flexibly then surely they cannot trust them with anything else such as;
- confidential business information
- and financial details.
And if in business do not trust your employees, then why you hired them in the first place?
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