Five tips to get flexible working right

How to get flexible working right

March 8, 2016

Heard flexible working increases productivity and morale, but nervous about employees clocking in late and leaving early?

Here’s how to get the balance right.

More than a quarter of UK companies, private or public, offer flexible working and all employees with 26 weeks or more service can ask for it.

It’s been known to improve productivity, employee morale and decrease turnover of staff.

But how do you know everyone is putting in the hours and completing their projects to the best of their ability?

We’ve had a look at the quickest and most efficient ways of keeping you and your employees happy.

1. Open the conversation
Transparency is key to a successful working relationship. Job sharing, working from home, part time, compressed hours, annual hours, flexitime, staggered days or phased retirement – the possibilities may seem endless but just ask them to be specific and honest.

2. Be open to compromise
If you don’t think a particular style would work, offer one to suit you both. Mull it over and only refuse if it will have an impact on the business. If your employee feels needed, but is happy with their flexibility, they are far more likely to stay with the company. One size doesn’t fit all, or we wouldn’t be discussing flexible working in the first place.

3. Ask employees to be consistent and specific
People will soon adapt to flexible working. Whether that is certain hours in the day they can come into the office or are available on Skype. It sounds more daunting than it is – everyone will soon fall into a comfortable pattern.

4. Communication is vital
Clear communication will ensure your team or employee is still being productive. Every week, do a roundup of what everyone is working on and priorities for the week ahead. Whether it is over conference call or Skype, with a monthly face-to-face catch up. Or chat online – just find what makes you feel comfortable.

5. Start small
Create a test pilot plan for a month and trial run it with everyone. Put time aside at the end to discuss openly what did and didn’t work. Gather feedback, evaluate their comments and make changes as needed. And remember, once the system gets up and running there won’t be too much in the way of admin as everyone will know where they stand.

For more information on the law behind flexible working, go to gov.uk/flexible-working or acas.org.uk/flexibleworking.