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In September 2019, Tiger Recruitment hosted a roundtable discussion with a handful of HR professionals across a variety of industries. The topic of the day? The rise of flexible working, and how this shift is playing out in the modern workplace. One of the key topics discussed was its practical implementation to ensure as successful an outcome as possible.
Flexible working should be ‘reason-neutral’
For employers, implementation can prove daunting as it can be hard to know where to start, particularly if they’ve not formalised these types of policies previously. At our roundtable, all attendees agreed that flexible working should be reason-neutral, meaning that an employee shouldn’t need to give a reason to want to work flexibly.
Everyone in attendance also recognised that flexible working should be open to all employees; however, it could depend on employee performance. For some, it made more sense to introduce it after their probation period; for others, it was effective immediately. Whichever approach is chosen, management should negotiate to ensure that the arrangement doesn’t affect business functions negatively.
“At our roundtable, all attendees agreed that flexible working should be reason-neutral”
Make sure management is on board
Attitudes from management are critical to a successful implementation, with one attendee stating that “old-school management believe they have to see you to believe that you’re working”. The use of an external consultant or interactive workshop may help change the mindsets of more traditional management, educating them on the different options available and the benefits it’ll bring to the workplace.
In addition, clear communication and comprehensive guidelines are critical for both management and employee expectations. These guidelines would need to include definitions of exactly what will or won’t work for a specific team.
“Old-school management believe they have to see you to believe that you’re working.” – Roundtable attendee
Policy details are important
Examples of important guidelines at the roundtable included:
- A limit on the number of people from the same team who work from home or work outside office hours at any one time
- The logistics of setting up the technology needed to work flexibly (e.g. soft phones, remote access, computer etc.)
- How employees outside the office attend team meetings
- Management’s ability to track their team’s work hours
In essence, there is no one rule for each business, however it is absolutely necessary for a formalised policy or guideline document to be implemented in order to make the situation work for both employees and employer.
If you’d like to learn more about the roundtable discussion, you can request a copy of the full report here!