Despite technology making it possible for many employees to work just as well (if not better) from home as they do at the office on a daily basis, the majority of bosses still worry that they will lose out on productivity, efficiency and team cohesion if they allow it.
Done correctly however, flexible working can boost productivity and morale, with no loss of team cohesion whatsoever.
This guide by Timesheet Portal (Click Here to find out about their convenient online business admin tools) offers top tips to give employers confidence in permitting a flexible workforce.
UK Law Regarding Flexible Working
When employees start asking for flexible working, it’s important to know what they are legally entitled to. Current legislation stipulates that all employees with 26 weeks or more service are now allowed to request flexible working, while employers are legally required to give reasonable consideration to their request. However this does not apply to consulting staff or freelance workers, unless they are consistent employees.
Good communication is absolutely essential to the success of a flexible workforce. Managers should view people working from home the same as they do their office workers, including always being available. Flexible workers should also be required to provide regular updates on their work progress, while more junior workers should be given a task along with clear guidance on how and when it is to be completed. In this way, flexible working will never be seen as an ‘easy day’ compared to being in the office and managers can assure themselves that productivity levels are not suffering. Actually, research is increasingly showing that flexi workers tend to be more productive and motivated since they want to show they can be trusted to work out of the office.
Dealing with Delicate Decisions
Many managers worry that if they grant one person flexi working, then the floodgates will fly open and all their employees will want the same. The way around this is to let everyone know that some jobs lend well to flexi working, while others do not. It’s a good idea to put your reasons for acceptance or refusal in writing, so that employees clearly understand that it’s on a case by case basis rather than favouritism.
Team cohesion needn’t be affected by flexible working as many managers fear. With the range of digital tools now available to all, workers at different locations can be patched in whenever they are needed in a meeting, while a good idea to promote team building amongst a flexible workforce is to have a Friday catch-up where everyone logs onto Skype or meets at a bar (if possible) to have a drink and chat about the week.
Another objection that many employers raise is that it’s tricky to stay on top of important admin details with flexi workers, such as timesheets, holiday leave and sick leave. With modern technology this is no longer the case – there are a number of highly efficient software packages these days that make admin easier than ever before, whether inside or outside the office. Employees need simply log in, fill out a few details and have it automatically sent to their line manager, who can even provide sign-off electronically. Click Here to find out more about the range of online business admin tools that leading providers are able to offer your business.