Candidates and employees are demanding greater flexibility on location, working hours, working patterns, and leave entitlements so that they can balance their work and life priorities, and work in a style that suits them best.
Some companies, led by the Silicon Valley tech giants, are offering headline grabbing innovations such as unlimited time off.
Millennials think in terms of projects rather than jobs meaning reduced tenure in any given organisation while freelancer platforms provide professional employment for many thousands of people outside of the traditional employer / employee relationship.
Family friendly employment legislation supports flexible working for an increasingly large proportion of the workforce.
Long working hours, expensive and hassle filled commutes reduce quality of life for all of us.
Yet, most job roles remain constituted as Monday to Friday 9 to 5 assignments unchanged from the mass production era of 100 years ago, and many firms struggle to accommodate greater flexibility.
So what should be done? What questions should we be asking? What needs to be done in the office and what can be done elsewhere? What core activities need to be done collectively to maintain delivery capability and org culture? How can technology support this?
The following tips will help ensure your organisation can implement flexible working effectively:
1. Define the expected benefits such as productivity, creativity or wellbeing improvements.
2. Provide clarity to your workforce on what’s possible and what’s not.
3. One size doesn’t fit all, provide a framework not a rulebook.
4. Ensure your IT and telecoms infrastructure can support productive remote working.
5. Understand your responsibilities and liabilities for remote workers.
6. Communicate regularly and avoid one dimensional tools such as email.
7. Ensure line managers and staff have regular scheduled check-ins.
8. Support your team to get it right.
9. Measure the impact of your flexible working practices and promote them across the business.