For the majority of us, working a 9-5 job feels like an outdated way of working because, as we all know, work doesn’t strictly happen between these hours. The reality of life is that often personal appointments or obligations happen during the day and work can tend to take place at night. With technology making work more mobile, there are no longer clearly set boundaries in between what happens at home and the office.
Unfortunately, many companies still operate traditionally when it comes to office hours. They want to see you sat at and present in your office chair for 9 am, which must mean you are being productive, right? This is wrong, as this is not how the majority of work is done these days. There is now no longer one-size-fits-all approach to the working week and it can often vary in fluidity from one week to the next. If you are looking to include some flexibility within your workplace, then there are some things you should consider.
Trust and Accountability Are Partners
You need to trust your employees enough to make their own choices as to where, when and how they will get the work done. In return, you must also be held accountable to the results they provide. You need them to deliver, or better yet, over-deliver, on the work that they provide and produce.
Whilst most people can effectively manage their own time and schedules, there are some people who wish to use their new flexible freedom to go in between activities during their days, whether that’s heading to an early yoga class or leaving early to fit in some shopping. These actions are what has put many people off introducing a flexible working environment within their business, so there must be some accountability.
Plan, Communicate and Prioritise
A flexible work environment and work/life balance are nice to have, but this will mean something different to each employee. Whether your employees have child commitments or time-specific hobbies, you need to realise that everyone has a life outside of work. Each one of us had different needs when it comes to how we decide how to spend the 24 hours we get each day.
These changes need to evolves and change, as does the amount of work which needs doing. A client meeting may take priority one week and the next week your home life may need more attention. Making sure that your employees plan and communicate with one another and prioritise their workloads is a way to make it a success for everyone.
Employee Interaction Matters
Whilst there are times that we like to work independently, collaborations between employees are at the core of most businesses. Technology tools may help, but they are no substitute for actual face-to-face meetings and chats.
There are times when teams need to work together in one room and share their input and experience on the matter in hand. These experiences often happen organically, so it is essential that your team are all in at the same time. Making sure that you set a structure of main working hours within the day will allow these interactions to take place.
Creating a flexible working environment isn’t easy. It requires a lot from the company leaders, as they need to look at the bigger picture, rather than just focusing on what is on a timesheet or who is sat at their desk every day at 9 am. Before you set anything in motion, you may need to check your employee’s contracts and check they are all up to date. It may also be worth getting advice from a good Manchester solicitors if you are unsure of any employee rights or terms, or getting advice from settlement agreement solicitors if there are issues following on from setting up flexible working.