Many businesses are figuring out how to return to work as restrictions lift. Even before 2020, there was a demand to introduce flexible working but now this has increased. Research finds that two-thirds of employees want some kind of flexible working.
And while the UK Government is encouraging workers back to the office, not everyone will be wanting to return to old ways of working. In this blog, we’ll look at how to introduce flexible working now restrictions are changing.
Flexible Doesn’t Always Mean Remote
When we talk about flexible working, remote work is often the first thing that spring to mind. Yet, for many people, having a job that fits around caring responsibilities, their lifestyle, and how they work best can mean many different things.
Flexible can mean working a 4-day week or working to a different schedule. Of course, it can also mean working from home. Often people enjoy having a choice about what works for them, as long as it also works for your business.
It is quite likely you’ve needed to introduce flexible working of some kind over the past year. It’s about recognising what works for your business and agreeing on how to introduce flexible working with those who request it following any changes you make in the next few weeks.
Everyone Has Different Needs
While the needs of the business come first, it is also important to recognise that your employees will also have different flexible needs. Some people will thrive working from home and enjoy the time they save on a commute. Others will have missed the social interactions they have at work. Or may find they prefer a mix.
Some employees may want to be in the office every day but adjust their start and finish times.
It can be difficult to find the balance. Yet, your business will no doubt be in a better position to tackle this now having negotiated rapid changes over the past year.
One of the main benefits to introduce flexible working is that it will help you retain your talent. With many people reassessing their work-life balance, employers are experiencing what is termed The Great Resignation.
So being able to offer staff the flexible work that they desire, is another way to retain your talent.
In fact, if you are hiring at the moment, 87% of people want to work flexibly but only 11% of jobs are advertising this. So it can also work to attract new talent to your teams.
In 2014 a BT study found that remote working increased productivity by 30%. More recently, this is supported by a CIPD survey which found that 89% of employees felt they were more productive with flexible working. Plus, their managers and employers are seeing the same outcomes.
Flexible work is also shown to reduce absenteeism and sick days. This is through being better able to manage stress or health needs. Plus parents and carers report increased wellbeing because they are able to support their family.
In the context of the pandemic, flexible working allows you to create safe workplaces. While social distancing is due to be removed, it is still unclear if this is permanent. Moreover, having less staff in the office will reduce the risk of transmission and subsequent self-isolation.
Flexible Work Policies
When you’re working out introduce flexible working for your business, it is important to make sure you update all flexible work policies. You may have introduced Covid-work and furlough policies last year. Make sure you bring these up to date with any new changes.
Finally, make sure you communicate with your staff. Let them know how you are working to match the needs of your business with the changes happening right now.
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