Flexible working should be offered to most employees. But making sure you have the right policy for your company is important.
As an employer, you must now consider requests for flexible working in, what the government calls, a ‘reasonable manner’. This means assessing any application for such working, discussing the request with the employee, and offering an appeal process if you decide to reject the application.
But the best way to deal with the question of flexible working is to have a clear policy that all your employees are aware of. Having an informal scheme in place simply creates problems across the company.
Here are a few things to consider when creating your policy…
Why are you creating one?
The first thing to consider is why your workers need a flexible working policy. Many companies have so few requests for flexible working that creating a policy isn’t necessary and when requests come in they can be handled on an ad hoc basis.
Speak with your team and find out if they’d be interested in flexible working and why. The ‘why’ part is important as it might be that you can adjust the office environment or working hours to be more accommodating for employees.
You also need to remember that flexible working is a two-way street. It’s a great perk for workers but it should also be benefitting businesses. Make sure that any policy doesn’t mean your team are going to become less productive.
For example, it’s no use allowing someone to work from 2pm-10pm if the majority of your clients or customers are expecting service in the morning.
Try and tie the policy to your business goals in other ways such as reducing absenteeism. If people need to take time off to deal with family matters, a flexible working policy could help get around this. It’s also a great benefit to offer staff to help increase staff retention.
Once the policy is in place, review it every quarter, tracking the productivity of those who have used it to see if it’s making a difference.
How will it work?
There are a number of logistical hurdles to setting up a flexible working policy.
If people are working from home or at non-regular hours, do you have the equipment for them to do so? It’s no use allowing everyone to work from home if you’ve only got laptops for half of them. Or if they’re working later hours and the office is locked.
You’ll also need to consider factors such as secure network connections, and people’s home broadband levels.
Then you’ve got to find a system that works for you. There are a variety of flexible working options. These could be working from home, going part-time, compressed work weeks (i.e. doing 5 days’ work over 4 days), telecommuting, job-sharing, and more.
Tell your team
Finally, you need to make sure the policy you create is easy to understand and that the team is told about it.
Hold a meeting to let them know any changes and create an easy system for those wanting to apply for flexible working.
Posted by The Secret Businessman