Flexible working seems like an idyllic idea for the employee but what about you, the employer, what challenges do you face?
Impact on Customer Service
Management of Flexible Hours
Communication and Accountability
Isolation and not feeling part of the team
Cost effectiveness has to be reviewed as part of the application for flexible working hours. This could include cost of technology required if the employee is to work from home. Also, you must consider staffing levels, if you allow flexible working in the office will this require you to employ more staff. Will the cost of the reduced flexible salary offset the cost of a new employee? All these things should be considered as part of your HR Strategy.
Customer service should not be affected by flexible hours if they are implemented correctly, indeed flexible hours may well improve your customer service as you could conceivably provide a more all round service.
As Flexible working applications are reviewed on an individual basis you can ensure that your team structure will provide you the man power required to keep your business on track.
Communication is key in all businesses, managers must be open about what they expect from their team and there must be trust in the relationship. Ensuring your employee knows what their role is and agreeing on how to measure their output will ease the problems of accountability. It can be challenging as a manager to overcome the mindset that employees will not be as productive away from the office environment; however research demonstrates that employees with history of working productively will normally remain productive with a changed schedule, especially where they have requested a change in schedule to improve their working situation. The key to success here is about communication and clearing setting out your expectations around what work needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.
If members of your team are working away from the office environment ensure that there are team events to keep up the relationship and keep effective communication lines open. Working away from your colleagues can cause a feeling of isolation which must be managed carefully to make sure there is no reduction in productivity.
Remember the obligation is to consider all flexible working applications. They can be declined if the business is unable to support the request. However, if approved flexible working arrangements should be implemented on a trial basis with the understanding that there may be a return to previous arrangements if required.
If you are still harbouring doubts about flexible working why not give us a call to see if we can allay those fears.